Columbus stun Tigres to reach Champions Cup semis

football10 April 2024 06:00| © AFP
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Columbus players © Gallo Images

Columbus Crew defeated Mexican giants Tigres 4-3 on penalties to reach the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup for the first time on Tuesday.

Columbus goalkeeper Patrick Schulte was the hero for the reigning Major League Soccer champions, saving penalties from Andre-Pierre Gignac and Guido Pizarro to send Crew through.

The quarterfinal finished 2-2 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in the second leg.

Seven-time CONCACAF champions Tigres, who had dominated Columbus in last week's first leg but were held to a draw, looked poised to wrap up Tuesday's return in Monterrey quickly when they took the lead after just three minutes.

Crew goalkeeper Schulte made a mess of attempting to control a back pass and allowed Gignac to nick the ball from his toes and side foot into an empty net.

Columbus settled down after the early howler and gradually grew in confidence before Uruguayan forward Diego Rossi poached an equaliser in the 59th minute.

Colombian forward Cucho Hernandez burst down the left flank and his cross caused panic in the Tigres penalty area before falling kindly for Rossi, who lashed home.

It sent the tie to a shootout where Rossi, Jacen Russell-Rowe and Alexandru Matan all scored for Columbus before Max Arfsten slotted the winning penalty.

Columbus's victory sets up the possibility of an all-MLS semifinal.

The Crew will face the winner of the quarterfinal between Lionel Messi's Inter Miami and Mexico's Monterrey, who play their second leg on Wednesday.

Mexican clubs have dominated CONCACAF's top regional club competition since Guadalajara won the first edition in 1962, lifting the trophy 38 times.

Costa Rican clubs have won the title six times, while teams from the United States and El Salvador have each won three.