It wasn’t the most exciting game, but Tijuana’s 1-0 win over Veracruz was effective nonetheless. Tijuana played it safe, knowing that a win or a draw would secure them as the superlider and pit them against the eighth seed.
Tijuana made sure to keep numbers back and not over-commit, limiting Veracruz’ chances at goal. Xolos did have a couple of good chances at goal. In the 23rd minute, Pedro Gallese went to clear the ball. Milton Caraglio pressed, and Gallese’s clearance attempt hit off of Caraglio to an onrushing Avilés Hurtado. Hurtado was knocked down about 25 yards from goal, and on the resulting free kick Gallese had to make a fantastic diving stop on Nacho Malcorra’s free kick.
In the 33rd minute, Caraglio almost got his head on the end of a cross from Malcorra, but it was just out of reach. In the 37th, Veracruz had a good opportunity of their own when a blast hit off of the underside of the crossbar, hit the line, and bounced out. Veracruz would hit the crossbar once again in the 61st minute, this time when Adrián Luna’s shot hit it flush. The majority of the rest of the match however was Xolos playing smart and (rather) safe.
In the 86th, Xolos would finally score to cement the win. Jefferson Murillo committed the foul deep, and Luis Chávez drilled it from distance.
Tijuana will play Monarcas Morelia in the first round of the Liguilla, as Morelia avoided relegation and made it to the playoffs on a Raúl Ruidíaz goal at the death against Monterrey.
Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Carlos Vargas, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Hiram Muñoz, Juan Carlos Nuñez (Juan Martín Lucero, 75’); Guido Rodríguez; Victor Malcorra, Joe Corona (Luis Chávez, 66’), Paul Arriola (Matías Pisano, 46’); Avilés Hurtado, Milton Caraglio
Veracruz: Pedro Gallese; Leobardo López, Miguel Herrera, Arturo Paganoni, Jefferson Murillo; Egidio Arévalo, Cristian Pellerano, Leandro Velázquez (Jehu Chiapas, 71’), Alejandro Acosta (Martín Bravo, 81’); Adrián Luna, Ángel Reyna (Eduardo Herrera, 60’)
Scoring: Tijuana - Luis Chávez (86’); Veracruz - None
Disciplinary: Tijuana - Avilés Hurtado (Yellow - 44’), Guido Rodríguez (Yellow - 47’), Joe Corona (Yellow - 53’); Veracruz - Leobardo López (Yellow - 24’), Ángel Reyna (Yellow - 38’)