Andre-Pierre Gignac was Tigres’ hero once again as the Mexicans stunned Palmeiras to become the first CONCACAF team to reach a FIFA Club World Cup™ final.
Ricardo Ferretti’s side were good value for their surprise win and will now face off for the title against either FC Bayern München or Al Ahly SC on Thursday.
Palmeiras went into the game as favourites but struggled throughout, and were indebted to goalkeeper Weverton for keeping the score blank in the first half.
Three times the Verdão No1 displayed excellent reflexes to deny Tigres, with the pick of his saves a superb, instinctive stop to tip wide from Gignac’s curling, goal-bound right-foot shot.
The game was developing into something of a personal duel between Gignac and Weverton, in fact, and this continued in the second half when Tigres were awarded a penalty eight minutes after the restart.
On this occasion, and while he guessed right, the Palmeiras keeper could not prevent the Frenchman’s powerfully-struck spot-kick finding the bottom-left corner.
Palmeiras had, of course, struck extremely late in the Copa Libertadores final to earn their place at the global showpiece, and pressed for an equaliser as the clock ticked down.
But their huffing and puffing produced precious little in the way of genuine opportunities, and Tigres were left to celebrate a famous – and deserved – semi-final victory.