Tigres become first Mexican side to reach Club World Cup final
Andre-Pierre Gignac seals a deserved victory for the underdogs
Concacaf champions now face Bayern München or Al Ahly
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.
DOHA, QATAR - FEBRUARY 07: Andre-Pierre Gignac of Tigres UANL shoots under pressure from Luan Garcia of SE Palmeiras during the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2002 Semi-Final match between Palmeiras and Tigres UANL at the Education City Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. FIFA are allowing a limited number of spectators (12,000) to be in attendance as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions are eased. (Photo by Mohamed Farag - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)
DOHA, QATAR - FEBRUARY 07: Matias Vina of SE Palmeiras passes the ball under pressure from Javier Aquino of Tigres UANL during the FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2002 Semi-Final match between Palmeiras and Tigres UANL at the Education City Stadium on February 07, 2021 in Doha, Qatar. FIFA are allowing a limited number of spectators (12,000) to be in attendance as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions are eased. (Photo by Fadi El Assaad - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)