Gignac brace earns Tigres first-leg win against Monterrey in wild opener
French striker Andre-Pierre Gignac scored a goal in each half to help reigning Liga MX champion Tigres to a 4-1 victory over city rival Monterrey in the first leg of the 2017 Clausura quarterfinal on Wednesday.
Gignac opened the scoring in the 20th minute of the Clasico Regio, finishing first time after Monterrey keeper Hugo Gonzalez spilled a cross into his path. Mexico international Jesus Duenas doubled Tigres' lead on the stroke of half-time, before Gignac headed in the third in the 69th.
Monterrey's young center-back Cesar Montes took advantage of a mistake from Tigres keeper Nahuel Guzman to pull a goal back in the 91st minute for what would have been an important away goal.
But Duenas netted his second, and Tigres' fourth, one minute later with a powerful volley from the top of the area to put the finishing touches on an end-to-end finish to the game.
The match in Estadio Universitario was the 111th edition of the Clasico Regio, with Tigres taking a 39-38 lead in the series with Wednesday's victory.
Tigres came into the playoffs after thrashing Club Tijuana and Queretaro in the final two regular-season matches and were the better team for much of the game against Rayados, who had lost their final two regular-season matches.
Monterrey coach Antonio Mohamed opted for a more attacking formation than he had in his team's 1-0 victory over Tigres on April 22, but it backfired as Tigres found space and took an early lead.
Tigres' third goal came on the counter-attack, as Rayados were enjoying their best period of the game and pushing for a vital away goal at 2-0 goal.
Things went from bad to worse from Monterrey in the 83rd minute when striker Aldo de Nigris was sent off just five minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Tigres went into the playoffs in seventh place in the regular-season table, with Monterrey second.
The second leg of the quarterfinal will be played Saturday in Monterrey's Estadio BBVA Bancomer.
In Wednesday's other quarterfinal, Toluca defeated Santos Laguna 4-1 away from home to take a commanding lead into Saturday's second leg.
Toluca's Gabriel Hauche headed in the opener in the 14th minute, with Enrique Triverio and Fernando Uribe netting in the second half. Carlos Esquivel tapped in with two minutes to go to make it 4-1.
Santos Laguna had equalized in the 53rd through Jonathan Rodriguez, but Triverio restored Toluca's lead one minute later.
Toluca is celebrating its 100th anniversary this Clausura and is looking to win its 11th Mexican first division title.
The other two Clausura quarterfinals will take place Thursday, with Morelia hosting Club Tijuana and Atlas playing local Guadalajara rival Chivas.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.