A win is a win is a win is a win.
In a match that had familiar echos for both teams, Tijuana was able to withstand withering pressure to keep Cruz Azul scoreless and snatch a late goal to cinch a win. Xolos have now won three straight, while Cruz Azul haven’t scored a goal from the run of play in 341 minutes.
The first half of the match was rather dull, with neither side getting many good chances at goal. Cruz Azul was able to maintain much of the possession (as they had done the week before against Monterrey), and Xolos were happy to let them work while they were able to keep numbers back (as they had done the week before against Chivas). Paul Arriola was able to contain defensively, forcing most of Cruz Azul’s attacking down the right wing.
Avilés Hurtado had the best chance of the evening, when he was able to push the ball forward into the box. When the Cruz Azul defenders gave up on the ball, assuming it would roll out over the end line, Hurtado sprinted forward and was able to get the ball inside of the line. This forced Corona to have to come out off of his line toward the ball. When Hurtado tried dribbling around, Corona dove at the ball. He missed and caught Hurtado, who went down but was not awarded the penalty.
Cruz Azul’s best chance of the night came off of a cross from their left. Gibran Lajud jumped at the cross, but was unable to make contact with the ball. It was struck by Martín Rodríguez, but it went harmlessly into the prone Lajud who quickly gobbled it up.
In the 73rd minute, Lajud made a fantastic save on a close range shot by Martín Cauteruccio, and then did well to cut back across the goal mouth and smother the follow up shot by Chaco Giménez to keep the match even.
Xolos would get on the board in the 80th minute, when Victor Malcorra’s corner kick found the head of Juan Carlos Valenzuela. Valenzuela’s header caught Jesús Corona cheating the wrong way, and went in to give Xolos the late lead.
Try as they might, Cruz Azul wasn’t able to mount much pressure. Xolos were content to retain possession and further frustrate Los Cementeros until time ran out.
Xolos next match is on Tuesday at home against Correcaminos de la UAT in a Copa MX match. They will then head to León to face La Fiera on Saturday in Liga MX play. Cruz Azul meanwhile will host Querétaro next Saturday.
Xolos: Gibran Lajud; Damián Pérez, Emanuel Aguilera, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Michael Orozco; Guido Rodríguez, Joe Corona (Juan Martín Lucero, 90); Victor Malcorra (Juan Carlos Medina, 84’), Avilés Hurtado, Paul Arriola; Milton Caraglio (Henry Martín, 71’)
Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona; Adrián Aldrete, Julián Velázquez, Julio Domínguez, Omar Mendoza; Rafael Baca, Gabriel Peñalba, Chaco Giménez; Ángel Mena (Joao Rojas, 76’), Martín Rodríguez, Jorge Benitez (Martín Cauteruccio, 60’)
Scoring: Xolos - Juan Carlos Valenzuela (80’)
Disciplinary: Xolos - Michael Orozco (Yellow - 18’), Guido Rodríguez (Yellow, 63’); Cruz Azul - Ángel Mena (Yellow - 65’)