Tijuana looked to have their tickets punched to the Copa MX quarterfinals early, however a brace by Morelia midfielder Jorge Zaráte pushed the match to penalties. Goalkeeper Toño Rodríguez made two fantastic saves to be the hero on the night, as Xolos advance to the quarterfinals for the second straight torneo. This will mark Xolos’ seventh trip to the quarterfinal round, although they have never progressed to the semifinal round in their previous six tries.
The first half was a rather forgettable affair, as it was clear most of the players on both sides were trying to get their game legs under them. Passes were often telegraphed and easy to pick out by the defense, and neither side was really able to establish much going forward.
That changed a bit in the 27th minute, when Quick Mendoza hit an onside Damián Pérez with a fantastic through ball. Pérez chested the ball down, turned, and fired it past Urbina to give Xolos the early lead.
Moments later it appeared that Juan Lucero had been hauled down in the box by Emanuel Loeschbor, however a free kick just outside the box was awarded. The resulting free kick by Juan Carlos Núñez just missed the bar, however multiple yellow cards were shown to Monarcas players for dissent as they argued Lucero had gone down far too easily.
In the 43rd minute, Ángel Sepúlveda hit a fantastic cross from the right to Miguel Sansores, whose shot went just over the crossbar and out of play.
Not even a minute in the second half, Quick Mendoza made a break down the left. His cross came back out to Juan Iturbe, who made a move into the box and was hauled down by Enrique Pérez. he penalty was awarded, and Lucero’s stutter-step shot put Xolos up 2-0.
In the 70th minute, Nacho Malcorra sent a great pass back to Alejandro Guido, who was stationed at the top of the box. The norteamericano pushed the shot just wide and to the right, however and the lead remained at two.
In the 75th minute, Morelia would get a lifeline as Jorge Zaráte would take the cut-back pass from Sansores and hit it back against the grain and out of reach of the diving Toño Rodríguez to put Monarcas down 2-1.
Monarcas almost equalized in the 80th minute when Sansores was left unmarked in the box and got a shot in on Toño Rodríguez at close range, but Rodríguez was able to make the stop to keep Xolos in the lead.
In the 83rd minute, Zaráte would equalize for Monarcas on a defensive lapse by Xolos and a good move to draw out Toño Rodríguez and calmly put it into the empty net.
This brought Morelia to life, and both teams looked evenly matched. As time expired in regulation, Joe Corona was gifted a chance at the top of the box all alone, however instead of hitting the shot on the volley he settled it, which allowed Morelia enough time to get back to put bodies in front of the shot.
In to added time, Morelia looked to have scored on a goal by Sepúlveda, however he was whistled offside, and the goal was nullified and the match went to penalties.
In penalties, Toño Rodríguez was able to get a hand on Carlos Guzmán’s shot and tip it over the bar as well as Rodolfo Vilchis’ shot to give Xolos the 4-2 edge and put them through to the quarterfinals.
Monarcas Morelia: Jesús Urbina; Jorge Valadéz, Emanuel Loeschbor, Eduardo Chávez (Rodolfo Vilchis, 46’), Enrique Pérez; Aldo Rocha, Diego Valdés, Juan Pablo Rodríguez; Gastón Lezcano (Carlos Guzmán, 63’), Miguel Sansores, Ángel Sepúlveda
Club Tijuana: Antonio Rodríguez; Damián Pérez, Michael Orozco, Emanuel Aguilera, Hiram Muñoz, Juan Carlos Núñez; Luis Chávez (Victor Malcorra, 67’), Alejandro Guido (Joe Corona, 84’), Luis Mendoza; Juan Iturbe (Damián Musto , 79’), Juan Lucero
Scoring: Monarcas Morelia - Jorge Zaráte (75’,83’); Club Tijuana - Damián Pérez (26’), Juan Lucero (47’ - penalty)
Disciplinary: Monarcas Morelia - Juan Pablo Rodríguez (Yellow - 25’,) Emaunel Loeschbor (Yellow - 29’), Miguel Sansores (Yellow - 30’), Jesús Urbina (Yellow - 30’), Gastón Lezcano (Yellow - 30’), Enrique Pérez (Yellow - 47’), Diego Valdés (Yellow - 74’) ; Club Tijuana - Juan Lucero (Yellow - 36’), Victor Malcorra (Yellow - 70’)
Penalties: Monarcas Morelia - Juan Pablo Rodríguez, Ángel Sepúlveda, Carlos Guzmán - X, Rodolfo Vilchis - X; Club Tijuana - Damián Pérez, Victor Malcorra, Damián Musto, Luis Mendoza