- Tigres and FC Dallas hold the advantage heading into the return legs of their CONCACAF Champions League semi-finals
- The tournament winners earn a place at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017
- Tigres’ winger Javier Aquino previews his side’s second leg against the Whitecaps
Tuesday 4 April
Pachuca – FC Dallas (Dallas lead 2-1 from first leg)
Wednesday 5 April
Vancouver Whitecaps FC – Tigres UANL (Tigres lead 2-0 from the first leg)
As Tigres UANL bid for a second successive Champions League final, winger Javier Aquino knows exactly what his side have to do to get there: “We need to go to Canada and close this tie out with authority,” he told FIFA.com. The club’s 2-0 first-leg win at home to the Whitecaps has put them on the brink, but the Mexican ace is taking nothing for granted. “It’d be a mistake to think the tie’s already decided or just shut up shop and see what they do. We need to go there intent on having possession so as to deny them the chance to hurt us, while also looking for a goal of our own to close in on our objective.”
Since signing for Tigres in 2015, the pacy wide-man, who is also a seasoned Mexico international, has picked up two Ligas MX winners’ medals and one domestic Campeon de Campeones crown. For all that, the player has unfinished business at international level, where he has had to make do with runners-up medals from the two major finals he has contested. In 2015 River Plate denied Tigres their moment of glory in the Copa Libertadores decider, while last year compatriots Club America bested them in the CONCACAF Champions League final.
The player prefers to focus on the positive, however, in particular Tigres’ feat of consolidating their position as one of Mexico leading sides in recent years. “It’s a combination of first class management and a very good coaching team. And there’s another very important thing which can be hard to get in football, and that’s continuity. The continuity of a project which improves a team day by day is how you bring about titles,” he added.
Aquino is longing for Champions League success, not to mention the additional prize of representing the region at the FIFA Club World UAE 2017. “The prospect excites and motivates me as, obviously, I’d love to be there. That’s why I returned to Mexican football: to contest finals and major tournaments.”
However, in order to grace another important tournament in the United Arab Emirates this December, the player must first finish the job against the Whitecaps before his thoughts can turn to Champions League glory.
Did you know?
- Of the four semi-finalists in this year’s Champions League, only Pachuca have previously won the tournament (2009)
- Despite losing their first leg in Dallas, Pachuca are still optimistic having now gone 26 games unbeaten at home
- Dallas FC have been in Mexico since 29 March preparing for what is the biggest game in the club’s history
- The Whitecaps are aiming to become the second Canadian team to reach the Champions League final after Montreal Impact in 2015
- Champions League runners-up last year and beaten finalists in the Copa Libertadores in 2015, Tigres are seeking their first international title
- Tigres could become the fifth team to reach consecutive Champions League finals