Gignac caps shock Mexico move with title

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Tigres’s forward Andre Pierre Gignac celebrates after scoring against Pumas during penalties round of their Mexican Apertura tournament football final match at the Olimpic stadium on Monday in Mexico City. AFP PHOTO

Tigres’s forward Andre Pierre Gignac celebrates after scoring against Pumas during penalties round of their Mexican Apertura tournament football final match at the Olimpic stadium on Monday in Mexico City. AFP PHOTO

MEXICO CITY: French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac crowned his surprising move to Mexico by scoring in a dramatic league final on Sunday (Monday in Manila) that gave his Tigres of Monterrey their fourth title.

Gignac’s Tigres beat the Pumas of Mexico City by winning a penalty shootout 4-2 in the second leg of the final played in the nation’s capital.

The former Marseille player scored a goal in each leg, ending the Apertura-2015 season with 15 goals.

“I’m the happiest person in the world,” Gignac said in brief comments after the game. “It was an incredible tournament.”


Many scratched their heads when the 30-year-old forward left Marseille, where he scored 21 goals last season, and shrugged off interest from other European clubs to join Monterrey in June.

His good form helped him get recalled to the French national team last month after a year-long absence.

On Sunday, he had a key part in the title game, though Tigres saw their 3-0 first leg advantage evaporate as Pumas fought back in a packed 58,000-capacity Olimpico Universitario stadium.

The team of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) hit three goals in regulation, Paraguayan midfielder Silvio Torales heading a corner into the goal in the 87th minute to make it 3-0 at full time and level the tie.

Gignac thought he had sealed the championship in the first half of extra-time when he controlled a cross perfectly with his right foot in the area, turning toward the goal and firing the ball past the keeper to reclaim the aggregate goal advantage.

But Pumas defender Gerardo Alcoba revived his team’s hopes a minute before the end when a long throw-in was deflected in front of him and he shot the ball home for 4-1 after extra time.

The Pumas collapsed during the ensuing penalty shootout, with Fidel Martinez hitting the first shot wide left.

Gignac was up next and fired his penalty past the diving keeper.

Tigres’ Argentine keeper Nahuel Guzman then saved a shot by Javier Cortes and his team-mate Israel Sabdi Jimenez scored the winner.

Pumas played much of extra-time with 10 men after forward Eduardo Herrera was booked a second time in the 90th minute after a reckless slide tackle on a defender.
Tigres defender Hugo Ayala was doubled booked five minutes before the end of extra-time.   AFP

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