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2017 Copa MX match recap: Tijuana 1, Puebla 0

Xolos get their first win under Chacho Coudet thanks to a Paul Arriola golazo.

Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente press release

The Eduardo Coudet era gets its first win as a Paul Arriola goal gives Xolos a 1-0 win over Puebla in Copa MX play.

In the third minute Alonso Escoboza got away from the Tijuana defense on a bit of a breakaway and fired low, but Tono Rodriguez was in good position and easily pounced on the ball.

Xolos would get on the board in the seventh minute when they were awarded a corner kick to the goalkeeper’d right. The kick was taken, and Paul Arriola ran in from the Xolos’ right toward the corner. The ball came to him and he managed to head the ball back to the far post, putting Tijuana in the driver’s seat early.

Xolos were much more cohesive as a unit in the first half of the match then they had been previously under new manager Eduardo Coudet. While it might have been Puebla not playing their strongest eleven, the Xolos bench options looking to impress Chacho in the few minutes they’d get in competition, or a combination of both, the result was undeniable. Guys were fighting for 50-50 balls, playing smart passes, and overall doing the fundamentals right - something that hasn’t always been on display thus far for Xolos.

In the 42nd minute, Federico Gonzalez was able to slip his defender and get a shot on net that was parried out of bounds. Tijuana was able to keep the defensive pressure on Puebla and went to the locker room up a goal at the half.

Puebla would pressure some early in the second half, but Xolos were able to keep themselves compact and didn’t give Puebla much in the way of offensive options.

In the 67th minute, Nacho Malcorra was able to find some space and let a left-footed shot rip, but the blast went just wide of the goal. Minutes later, Felix Micolta would see a header miss the top corner of the goal by a matter of inches. In the 76th minute, Carlos Salom had a shot that was saved by Rodriguez.

A great play by Nacho Malcorra in the 80th lead to a Tijuana break. A cross saw the ball go out to the right to Gustavo Bou, whose shot was well played by Israel Villasenor. The follow up shot was cleared by a Puebla defender.

In the 82nd, Felix Micolta made a great run down the center of the pitch and fired a shot that just missed the net. Puebla repeatedly applied pressure, but each time Xolos defense was able to hold firm.

It’s hard to understate how much improved the team was over what has been on display the first two weeks of the Liga MX Apertura. Even though it’s just a Copa MX match, it’s something that Eduardo Coudet’s men can build on. Tijuana will host Monterrey on Friday in Liga MX play while Puebla will be on the road against Veracruz on Sunday.

Club Tijuana: Jose Antonio Rodriguez; Damian Perez, Alejandro Donatti, Hiram Munoz, Michael Orozco; Luis Chavez (Damian Musto - 62’), Enzo Kalinski, Alejandro Guido (Gustavo Bou - 72’); Ignacio Malcorra, Paul Arriola, Henry Martin (Juan Lucero - 81’)

Club Puebla: Israel Villasenor; Carlos Gutierrez, Alonso Zamora, Hugo Rodriguez, Patricio Araujo; Oscar Rojas, Francisco Torres (Felix Micolta - 54’), Pablo Miguez, Alonso Escoboza (Jonas Aguirre - 77’); Federico González (Christian Marrugo - 58’), Carlos Salom

Scoring: Club Tijuana - Paul Arriola (7’); Club Puebla - None

Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Ignacio Malcorra (Yellow - 88’); Club Puebla - Christian Marrugo (Yellow - 72’), Felix Micolta (Yellow - 75’)