Vancouver Whitecaps susbtitute Simon Becher was on target against Real Espana as his team progressed to the last eight of the CONCACAF Champions League
Miami (AFP) - Mexico’s Tigres advanced to the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions League after a 1-1 draw at Orlando City ensured passage on the away goals rule.
MLS Cup winners Los Angeles FC survived a scare against Costa Rica’s Alajuelense but progressed with a 4-2 aggregate win.
The Vancouver Whitecaps also take their place in the last eight despite losing 3-2 to Real Espana in Honduras. The Canadians advance with a 7-3 aggregate win after winning the first leg 5-0.
A goalless draw in the first-leg in Monterrey meant that a score draw would be enough for Tigres in Orlando and while they achieved exactly that they were pushed to the wire by the MLS side in a dramatic finale.
Orlando had their goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to thank for keeping them on level terms in the early stages as he made a series of fine saves including a great reaction to keep out a powerful header from Nicolas Ibanez.
The Florida side also went close when Ivan Angulo did well to work himself some space in the box but fired his effort just wide of the post.
But Tigres got their crucial away goal in the 21st minute when Jesus Angulo lofted in a high cross towards the back post and Francisco Cordova took advantage of the space granted him by a disorientated Luca Petrasso to chest the ball down and then fire past Gallese.
Gallese came to the rescue again after the break when Ibanez broke clear, but the Orlando keeper responded with a diving save to deny the Argentine forward.
Luis Quinones had a great chance to wrap up the tie for Tigres but shot weakly straight at Gallese and after that reprieve Orlando began to apply their late pressure.
Their efforts were rewarded when Austrian Ercan Kara scored with a spectacular bicycle kick that set up a wild finale with Orlando knowing another goal would send them through.
Orlando peppered the Tigres box with testing high balls and had an appeal for a penalty turned down when another bicycle kick from Kara struck a defender with claims of handball. Surprisingly the incident was not reviewed by VAR.
- More drama -
There was more drama to come deep in stoppage time when Tigres’ Brazilian defender Samir was sent off after a second yellow card and then in the final seconds the ball fell to substitute Duncan McGuire in the box but he blasted high and wide.
There was a melee at the end of the game with Orlando players protesting to the referee and their coach Oscar Pareja appeared to be shown a red card.
Tigres will face the winner of Thursday’s tie between Motagua of Honduras and Mexico’s Pachuca which is goalless after the first-leg.
In Los Angeles, LAFC – leading 3-0 from the first leg – gave their fans nervous moments after going 2-0 down to Alajuelense, who took the lead through a Giancarlo Gonzalez penalty and a second-half Aaron Suarez strike.
But Mexican striker Carlos Vela made sure of LAFC’s place in the last eight with a cool finish seven minutes from the end.
LAFC will now face an all-MLS quarter-final against Vancouver after they took care of business in San Pedro Sula.
With a five-goal lead and after a goal-less first half they extended their advantage in the 66th minute with a thundering drive from Brian White.
But Espana took a 2-1 lead through goals from Getsel Montes and Ramiro Rocca.
But substitute Simon Becher restored parity with a nicely-taken solo goal, the winger collecting the ball on the left flank, cutting inside and then beating Luis Lopez at his near post.
While their elimination was assured, four minutes from the end, Espana grabbed the consolation of a second-leg win with Montes’s second, a powerful header from a corner.