Honors even at Estadio Azul, as Cruz Azul and Club Tijuana battled to a 0-0 draw on Día de Reyes.
Tijuana’s lineup wasn’t exactly as expected. Omar Mendoza was on the bench and Matías Aguirregaray was out of the lineup altogether in favor of Michael Orozco at right back. Gustavo Bou was also on the bench due to an injury, with Juan Lucero getting the start up top for Xolos.
In the early stages of the match, Cruz Azul looked much more confident in the attack. La Maquina looked to target Michael Orozco on Xolos’ right flank, as the norteamericano has spent most of his career in Liga MX as a center back. Orozco has played as a Right back however, both with the United States National Team and with Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. Orozco still had his hands full defending against Carlos Fierro and Martín Rodríguez.
Xolos for their part were content to absorb the pressure and try and counterattack down the left, using Miller Bolanos as a play-making winger trying to hit Juan Lucero in deep.
In the 20th minute, Fierro was the recipient of a bad giveaway by Xolos. He played it in to Chilean striker Felipe Mora, however Mora’s shot whistled just to the left of Gibran Lajud’s net.
In the 29th minute, Lajud made a solid save on a blast from distance. Cruz Azul had plenty of chances in the first half, but Lajud and Xolos were able to keep them off of the board.
Xolos got their first shot on goal in the 42nd minute when Nacho Malcorra beat his defender and did his best André-Pierre Gignac impression, driving in from the left and uncorking a right-footed shot back against the grain. Chuy Corona was able to grab it and hang on however to keep the sides scoreless.
Xolos came into the second half more focused and looking more sound. They were able to get their first corner kick shortly after the re-start, and in the 50th minute Michael Orozco hit a blast from distance that was redirected on net, forcing Corona to make a diving save.
In the 52nd minute, Cruz Azul took a free kick from about 25 yards out, but Lajud made a good stop on the shot.
In the 57th minute, Xolos had a fantastic chance when Malcorra hit a fantastic cross toward Juan Lucero. Lucero dummied the ball, and the onrushing Michael Orozco got a foot on it but knocked it just over the bar.
Xolos looked more confident in the attack as time went on. In the 67th minue, Malcorra hit a blast from deep that missed the top corner by mere inches. Cruz Azul would also have a couple of decent chances, with Adrián Aldrete hitting a volley over Lajud’s goal.
In the 84th, Rafael Baca found himeslf alone with Gibran Lajud. Baca’s shot was kicked out by the long right leg of Lajud to keep the sides scoreless.
Nacho Malcorra had a good shot on a free kick about halfway through stoppage, but Corona made a diving stop on it to keep the teams ultimately scoreless.
Despite the slow start, Xolos looked decent and there were positives to draw from for Diego Cocca’s men. Getting a clean sheet and a point on the road is always a good way to start the season. Cruz Azul will be disappointed that they were unable to convert any of their early chances and seize a win at home against a team that missed the playoffs in the past season.
Xolos will host Necaxa on Friday, while Cruz Azul will head to Oaxaca to face Ascenso MX champs Alebrijes de Oaxaca in the Copa MX opener. They’ll then head to Guadalajara to face Chivas on Saturday.
Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona; José Madueña, Julián Velázquez, Julio Domínguez, Adrián Aldrete; Francisco Silva, Rafael Baca, Ángel Mena (Javier Salas, 64’), Martín Rodríguez; Carlos Fierro, Felipe Mora (Víctor Zúñiga, 74’)
Club Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Damián Pérez, Pablo Aguilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Michael Orozco; Ignacio Malcorra, Luís Chavez, Damián Musto, Juan Iturbe (Alejandro Guido, 74’); Miller Bolaños (Omar Mendoza, 90+2’), Juan Lucero (Gustavo Bou, 81’)
Scoring: Cruz Azul - None; Club Tijuana - None
Disciplinary: Cruz Azul - José Madueña (Yellow - 70’), Javier Salas (Yellow - 80’); Club Tijuana - Damián Musto (Yellow - 21’), Miller Bolaños (Yellow - 39’), Juan Iturbe (Yellow - 53’)