Tigres UANL remain confident of securing a first Copa Libertadores title as the first leg of the final against River Plate looms, despite heading into the clash on the back of a season-opening defeat in domestic competition.
No Mexican club has ever won the Copa – only Guadalajara (2010) and Cruz Azul (2001) have previously reached the final – and Tigres midfielder Edgar Lugo has urged his team-mates to “make history” against River.
Tigres will first have to bounce back from Saturday’s 1-0 Liga MX loss at home to Toluca, although that game saw coach Ricardo Ferretti rest the likes of Andre-Pierre Gignac, Rafael Sobis, Egidio Arevalo and Javier Aquino.
Tigres advanced to the Copa Libertadores final with a 4-3 aggregate victory over Internacional of Brazil, with former Marseille striker Gignac scoring the opening goal in their 3-1 win in the second leg.
“It’s a very important tournament, so in that respect we are about to achieve something great in our football career,” Lugo said in the lead-up to Wednesday’s home leg at the Estadio Universitario de Nuevo Leon.
“Not only for me but for many colleagues, we hope to transcend, to make history and to get something important our lives.”
River will head to Mexico after their 3-1 win over Colon in the Argentine Primera Division on Saturday, with the Buenos Aires-based club unbeaten in six matches in all competitions.
Marcelo Gallardo’s side overcame Paraguay’s Guarani 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals.
Gallardo warned River that they cannot afford any mistakes if they are to win their club’s third South American championship.
“It will be a game of 180 minutes,” he said, referring to the two legs.
“The concentration has to be high to manage anxiety and nerves, along with the confidence [we have gathered along the way].”
River previously won the Copa Libertadores in 1986 and 1996, with Gallardo having lifted the trophy as a player on the second of those two occasions.
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