León opened up the game by taking every opportunity to shoot on Xolos, and it paid off. Eleven minutes in. Elías Hernández put in a wonderful cross from the right side of the box to Mauro Boselli. Boselli was inexplicably unmarked, and he was able to head the ball in past a helpless Federico Vilar to put La Fiera up 1-0.
Just seven minutes later, León would strike again. This time it was Diego Novaretti who was unmarked in the box, putting a header in past Vilar.
León played absolutely flawless soccer, dominating possession and shooting in the first half.
After the half, Tijuana subbed out Kevin Gutierrez for Victor Malcorra and changed to a diamond midfield. This seemed to right the ship, and Tijuana wound up getting a few good chances on goal. León would not be deterred, and in the 62nd minute Germán Cano got on the end of this beautiful cross to put La Fiera up 3-0.
Tijuana didn’t quit and kept fighting, but unfortunately for Xolos nothing was going right for them. Late in the game, Mauro Boselli went up for a ball and it looked like he hyperextended his knee on the landing. He was carted off of the pitch and did not return. Later still, Milton Caraglio went up for a ball in the box and was elbowed in the face by Nacho González. Caraglio bled profusely from a large cut near his eye, but no foul was whistled. Caraglio was able to continue to play.
Miguel Herrera’s men will need to regroup and prepare for the rematch in BCN on Saturday. While a 3 goal lead isn’t insurmountable, it will require a flawless performance - one Xolos haven’t turned in for a few weeks now.
León: William Yarbrough; Efraín Velarde, Guillermo Burdisso, Diego Novaretti, Fernando Navarro (Nacho Gonzalez - 80’); Alexander Mejía, Leonel López, Luis Montes (Hernán Burbano - 87’), Germán Cano, Elías Hernández; Mauro Boselli (Maximiliano Morález - 79’)
Xolos: Federico Vilar; Michael Orozco, Juan Valenzuela, Emanuel Aguilera, Damián Pérez; Guido Rodríguez, Kevin Gutiérrez (Victor Malcorra - 46’), Gabriel Hauche, Avilés Hurtado (Henry Martín - 66’): Dayro Moreno (Henry Martín - 66’), Milton Caraglio
Scoring: León - Mauro Boselli (12’), Fernando Navarro (17’), Germán Cano (62’); Xolos - None
Disciplinary: León - Alexander Mejía (Yellow - 59’); Xolos - Emanuel Aguilera (Yellow - 72’)