Campeones Cup heartbreak: LAFC fall in PKs to Tigres


LAFC saw their trophy dreams dashed at BMO Stadium on Wednesday evening, as Liga MX powerhouse Tigres UANL took a penalty-kick victory to win the 2023 edition of Campeones Cup.

The annual face-off between each league's reigning champion finished 0-0 after 90 minutes plus stoppage time, which saw each side receive a red card and LAFC's would-be opener from Dénis Bouanga retroactively waived off.

The hosts were dealt the first crucial blow in the 63rd minute with the match still scoreless, when defender Diego Palacios was sent off with a second yellow card after a tactical foul in transition.

Playing a man down, LAFC thought they tallied a shock opener in the 78th minute when Bouanga's curler briefly sent the home crowd into euphoria. But the tally was negated by referee Drew Fischer, as defender Giorgio Chiellini was deemed to play an in-motion pass on the precipitating set-piece.

Tigres then received a red card of their own in the 85th minute, as midfielder Rafael Carioca was called for taking down Bouanga on a breakaway opportunity.

The 10-v-10 contest ultimately headed to penalties, where Tigres prevailed 4-2 in the decisive shootout to take the trophy. The visitors converted all four of their spot-kicks, while Timothy Tillman and Ryan Hollingshead each had theirs saved by goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán.


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Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: In a more eventful match than the final scoreline might indicate, LAFC once again found themselves on the short end of a frustrating result that deprived them of more silverware against a Liga MX opponent. With their previous defeat in the Concacaf Champions League final against Club León earlier this season, LAFC will hope to put together a run in the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs to rectify the missed opportunities. For their part, Tigres took home the first Campeones Cup for Liga MX since 2018, when they defeated Toronto FC.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: If Bouanga’s negated 78th-minute strike had stood, it would have been a massive momentum-shifter and perhaps the Black & Gold don’t end up in penalties. Instead, it got disallowed for a call on Chiellini that you rarely see.
  • MAN OF THE MATCH: Guzmán played the hero role for Tigres in the shootout, making top-class denials on both Tillman and Hollingshead.

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