Little more can be said about Bayern Munich, the Bavarian juggernauts that make up one half of the Club World Cup final. Their competitors, however, remain relative unknowns in Europe. Even though they have been absolutely dominating Mexican football for the last decade. So, just who are Tigres UANL of Mexico? Let’s find out.


The birth of a club

After a series of merges, failed ventures and name changes, Tigres or Club Deportivo Tigres of the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon, to give them their full name, played their first game on the 9th July 1967. They lost 4-0.



Despite the name they have never been a university football team, the club was born out of a short lived side known as Jabatos, despite drumming up support in the local area the side struggled financially and directorship of the side was transferred to the board of the University of Nuevo Leon. Though it remained in business terms a separate entity in all but name to the University. 


Finding their feet

The club's first success came in the 1975-76 season, with the side winning the Mexican Cup against Club America. The next six years would see them add two Mexican league titles as the club enjoyed the best period in its early history.



Rivalry with Monterrey

The sides contest the ‘Regiomontano Classic’. The rivalry predates the modern Tigres and can be traced back to a second division match in the 1959-60 season, played between Tigres precursor Jabatos and Monterrey. The game finished 2-0 and all but secured Monterrey’s promotion to the top division while Tigres were left to lapse in the second division for a further fourteen years. Today, the sides respective stadiums sit a mere hour walk from one another and the fervor around the derby shows no signs of dissapaiting.






A turning point 

The side won the Copa Mexico but also got demoted to the second division in the 1995/96 season thanks to a defeat against arch rivals Monterrey, a match since dubbed the ‘Clasico del Descent’.

Following the relegation the board sought financial assistance and ultimately transferred the running of the club to Sinergia Deportiva, a specially set up subsidiary of Mexican construction giants Cemex, since 1997. Having notched up four major honours in the 37 years prior to the take over the side has since added ten major honours to its tally, all coming in the last 10 years. 


A decade of domination 

The side became just the third Mexican side to ever reach the final of the Copa Libertadores when they finished as runners up in the Copa Libertadores in 2015, falling at the last hurdle to River Plate of Argentina. Despite holding on to a 0-0 draw in front of 40,000 home fans the return leg proved an insurmountable challenge as the side failed to become the first Mexican side to ever lift the historic trophy. 



Piere-Andre Gignac has been the best player in North America since he arrived in Mexico six years ago. 126 goals in just over 200 games is good. The way he’s scoring them is something else.


Words by Andy Gallagher


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