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Match recap: Toluca 3, Tijuana 1

A first half brace from Fernando Uribe sends Toluca to the Liguilla on a high note.

Gustavo “Pantera” Bou was one of the bright spots for Xolos during the Apertura. Francisco Vega / Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente press release

Two goals from Fernando Uribe in the the first half proved too much for Tijuana, as Xolos fell 3-1 on the road. Rubens Sambueza’s two assists proved crucial, as the home side showed why they are expected to do well in the upcoming Liguilla. Xolos on the other hand will look to figure out just how their season went so wrong.

Xolos got the first shot on goal of the game when Juan Iturbe laid a pass back to the onrushing Alejandro Guido. The norteamericano hit a blast from about 20 yards but Luís García was able to smother the shot. In the 13th minute, there were shouts by Xolos as the ball hit Rubens Sambueza in the arm, however there was no whistle. Sambueza never stopped playing and fired a shot that beat Gibran Lajud but clattered off of the far post and out.

Sambueza would have a nother near miss in the 21st minute as a back pass from Carlos Esquivel would find Sambu unmarked at the top of the box. Sambueza was running left to right and hit the shot with the outside of his left foot, pushing it just wide of the net.

In the 26th minute, Toluca would finally break through. Carlos Esquivel was sprung down the Toluca right. Gibran Lajud did very well to come out and block the shot, and got back on his line quickly. The ball fell to Sambueza, who picked out Fernando Uribe on a cross. Uribe’s header caught Lajud going the wrong way, and gave Los Diablos Rojos the lead.

Toluca would double their lead in the 44th minute when Rubens Sambueza made a fantastic move down the Toluca left, outmuscled Juan Carlos Núñez, and hit a cross to an unmarked Uribe. Uribe calmly slotted the ball past a helpless Lajud for the brace.

Tijuana never looked like they were mentally in the game. Perhaps it was knowing that their shot at the Liguilla ended when Cruz Azul won on Saturday. Maybe it was playing at altitude or on the narrow pitch at Estadio Nemesio Díez. Whatever it was, Xolos looked out of sorts for most of the match.

In the 54th minute, Jesús Méndez would hit a rocket of a free kick to extend Toluca’s lead to three.

Xolos weren’t totally dead though. Minutes later, Pantera Bou would draw one back for Tijuana on a fantastic individual effort to beat Osvaldo González to get the shot off and then follow up on the rebound from Luís García’s save.

The goal would prove too little, too late however for Xolos. While bringing on Quick Mendoza and Henry Martín provided a brief spark, Toluca was sound defensively and didn’t allow Xolos to really ever gain any offensive momentum.

Toluca currently sits in fourth position and will play Club América in the Liguilla if América is unable to defeat Santos Laguna. If América wins they will leapfrog Toluca and Monarcas, setting up a Clásico Joven and seeing Toluca play Monarcas.

Toluca: Luís García; Efraín Velarde, Santiago García, Osvaldo González, Rodrigo Salinas; Rubens Sambueza (Alexis Vega, 67’), Jesús Méndez, Antonio Ríos (Juan Delgaldillo, 76’), Carlos Esquivel; Pablo Barrientos; Fernando Uribe (Alexis Canelo, 76’)

Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Juan Carlos Núñez, Alejandro Donatti, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Damián Pérez; Damián Musto; Victor Malcorra, Alejandro Guido (Juan Lucero, 76’), Miller Bolanos (Henry Martín, 58’); Juan Iturbe (Luis Mendoza, 58’), Gustavo Bou

Scoring: Toluca - Fernando Uribe (26’, 44’), Osvaldo González (54’); Tijuana - Gustavo Bou (57’)

Disciplinary: Toluca - None; Tijuana - Victor Malcorra (Yellow - 52’), Damián Musto (Yellow - 71’), Juan Lucero (Yellow - 79’)