Puebla and Club Tijuana had been eliminated from the Liguilla coming into tonight’s match, and the clubs played to a draw in front of a spartan crowd at Estadio Cuauhtémoc. The main talking point turned out to be a red card that was awarded with help from VAR...
The game started off slowly, with the most notable incident early on being Julián Velázquez and Félix Micolta banging their heads together when going for a ball in the sixth minute. After being attended to by their respective medical staffs, both men left under their own power and were able to return.
As the match went on, Puebla started to gain the upper hand in possession, forcing Gibran Lajud to register a couple of saves before the 15th minute had expired. In the 25th minute, Xolos conceded an indirect free kick in their own 18 yard box when a miscommunication saw Gibran Lajud pick up a ball that was ruled to have been played by a Xolos player. Luckily for Tijuana the angle was so sharp that Puebla wasn’t able to do much with the kick and the mistake went unpunished. Neither side threatened much however during the first half, with Puebla having all three shots on goal.
There was controversy in the 56th minute when during the run of play Christian Tabó looked to send a ball in and scuffed the ball. Referee Óscar Maciás Romo allowed play to continue, but eventually signalled for VAR. The replay showed that when Tabó scuffed the ball, his follow through raked Oman Mendoza’s thigh with his cleats. Upon his return from the booth, Maciás Romo pulled a red card from his back pocket and Tabó’s night was finished.
Xolos fans did however get a decent look and Daniel López, the Xolos academy player who like Antonio Nava has worked his way up through the ranks. Jesús Angulo also got some good minutes in the later part of the match. López wound up having one of the better chances of the night when Angulo played him in with a slick backheel pass, however his left footed shot whistled just wide of the far post. Replays showed that Puebla goalkeeper Nicolás Vikonas may have touched the ball in flight to deflect it ever so slightly.
Even up a man however, Tijuana struggled to get much going offensively. It was only in the waning moments of the match were they able to mount any sort of pressure. Unfortunately for the visitors, it would turn out to be too little, too late as the sides ended in a 0-0 draw.
Puebla: Nicolás Vikonis; Diego Cruz, Daniel Arreola (José Pallas, 64’), Hugo Rodríguez, Vladimir Loroña; Luis Robles (Jonathan Espericueta, 54’), Alejandro Chumacero; Christian Tabó, Félix Micolta (Francisco Acuña, 46’), Omar Fernández; Lucas Cavallini
Club Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Luis Fuentes, Julián Velázquez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Omar Mendoza; Ignacio Rivero, Diego Rodríguez, Luis Chávez, Antonio Nava (Jesús Angulo, 70’); Fabián Castillo (Daniel López, 66’), Eryc Castillo (Juan Martín Lucero, 81’)
Scoring: Puebla - None; Club Tijuana - None
Disciplinary: Puebla - Christian Tabó (Red - 56’), Hugo Rodríguez (Yellow - 82’); Club Tijuana - None