Orlando City ride Gallese’s saves to draw at Tigres
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Orlando City ride Gallese’s saves to draw at Tigres

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NUEVO LEON A top performance from GK Pedro Gallese helped Orlando City SC earn a 0-0 draw at Tigres UANL of Mexico in the first leg of the 2023 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 on Tuesday night at the Estadio Universitario in San Nicolas de los Garza, Mexico.

It had been more than two years since his last Concacaf match, but Tigres’ Andre-Pierre Gignac, owner of 14 goals in 24 SCCL games, looked to be in perfect SCCL condition at the start and almost scored early, only to be twice denied by Gallese.

Over the course of the first half, though, Orlando City started to gain a foothold and kept Tigres GK Nahuel Guzman on his toes, but nothing that truly troubled the veteran shot-stopper.

Tigres brought back the pressure to start the second half and Nicolas Ibanez was a whisker away from breaking the deadlock in the early staged of the second stanza, but could not get off a clean shot.

That was followed by Fernando Gorriaran striking the crossbar from a corner kick, only to see Gallese tip it onto the crossbar and away from trouble. Gallese was called into action again in the 57’, this time with a diving reaction save to his right on a Samir Caetano header.

The game was starting to open up and Orlando City created their best chance just shy of the hour mark when Martin Ojeda took away the ball from the Tigres defense and fired a shot that was parried to safety by Guzman.

Gallese’s best saves of the night arrived in the final phases, as he stretched to stop buzzing efforts from Gignac and Sebastian Cordova. 

That was followed by Guido Pizarro smacking the post with a late header in the 87’, ending Tigres’ hopes of a late win and leaving things hanging in the balance for next week’s return leg in Orlando.