Tigres UANL won the battle of the Liga MX big cats in 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, brushing aside the challenge of Pumas UNAM with a 3-0 victory on the road in the second leg. Jurgen Damm scored twice, Luis Quinones added Tigres' third in the 87th minute.
Tigres have suffered a slow start to their Liga MX Clausura campaign, currently languishing in 15th in the table. But they were runners-up in last year's CCL, and the semifinals of the 2016-17 edition will play out between March 14 and April 6. Tigres' early-season struggles in the league might be a distant memory by the time the next round of CCL reaches its conclusion.
In the CCL semifinals, Tigres will play the winner of the Vancouver Whitecaps-New York Red Bulls quarterfinal, which will be settled on March 2.
The other semifinal will be contested by Pachuca - currently third in the Liga MX table - and FC Dallas. So CONCACAF is guaranteed two Liga MX vs MLS semifinals, which doubtless pleases the organizers of a tournament that goes to some lengths to engineer knockout-stage match-ups between representatives of the region's two highest-profile leagues.
In its quarterfinal second leg, Pachuca trampled Saprissa, running away with the second leg, 4-0, after bringing a scoreless draw home from the first leg in Costa Rica. Uruguayan Jonathan Urretaviscaya starred for Pachuca with a goal and two assists in the win over Saprissa.
Pachuca's semifinal opponent, FC Dallas, lost the second leg of its quarterfinal, 2-1, to Arabe Unido. But a narrow loss was a luxury the MLS team could afford after thrashing its Panamanian opponent, 4-0, in the first leg. The second leg in Panama was never really close. FCD scored first, establishing a five-goal aggregate advantage in the 23rd minute. The away goal meant Arabe Unido needed to score six to get through to the semifinals. Credit the Panamanian team for scoring twice in the closing minutes of the match to at least end its CCL campaign on a positive note - but it hadn't looked a realistic challenger for the semifinals since around the time FCD's fourth goal was scored in the first leg.
All CCL eyes are now on Vancouver, to see which of VWFC and RBNY will round out this year's semifinal lineup.