Coming into tonight’s match, Club Tijuana had scored just three goals. Exiting the match, they had doubled that total and then some, routing a 10-man UNAM Pumas side by the score of 4-1.
Things got off to a poor start for Tijuana, as before the first minute had passed Nicolás Castillo had scored for the visitors. Matías Alustiza hit a free kick from the near sideline and Castillo was able to go up unmarked and get his head on the ball, beating Gibran Lajud.
It wouldn’t be long before Xolos answered though. In the 10th minute, Pumas center back Alejandro Arribas would attempt a back pass to goalkeeper Alfredo Saldívar, but it was hit poorly/ Mateus Gonçalves would beat Arribas to the ball and slip it past Saldívar to draw the sides level.
With that goal, Tijuana seemed to find a bit of confidence. In the 20th minute, Gustavo “Pantera” Bou came down the left flank and had a decent shot that went into the side netting.
Shortly after, Pantera went for a slide tackle on Arribas but when he went to slide his left foot got caught in the turf. His foot hyperextended a bit, causing his knee to slam into the turf. This impact looked to wrench his hip and back a bit, and he took a stretcher ride off of the pitch. He would come back on a minute later, but was subbed off shortly after. When riding off of the pitch, it was apparent a large gash had opened above his left knee.
In the 39th minute Xolos had a great chance on a free kick but it went under Juan Carlos “Topo” Valenzuela and the bounce hit Damián Musto in the arm on the way out. Just prior to that, Xolos assistant coach Mauro Gerk and Pumas assistant Christian Ramírez were both expelled by the referee.
Minutes later, Juan Lucero would intercept a poorly executed back pass by Alustiza and switch it left to Mateus. Mateus took a step and hit a shot that beat Saldívar to give Tijuana the 2-1 lead.
In the 49th minute there was a bit of controversy, as Xolos were awarded when Musto went down in the box. The replay seemed to show that there was minimal contact at best, but the referee awarded it regardless. Juan Lucero stepped up and buried the penalty, bringing Tijuana’s lead to 3-1 and doubling their goal output on the year.
Pumas was uncharacteristically bossed around by Tijuana. For a team that’s used to imposing their will on other teams, they were pushed around a bit by Tijuana. The frustration was evident when in the 56th minute, David Cabrera was shown a yellow for a foul and started yelling at the referee, who immediately showed him a red card.
In the 75th minute, Lucero almost got his second of the night on a header that was just tipped over by Saldívar.
Tempers would flare again in the 81st minute when it looked like Josecarlos Van Rankin threw a punch at Mateus. While it didn’t look like it connected, Mateus went down and Van Rankin and Pablo Barrera started yelling at Mateus, who got up and shoved Van Rankin. The two teams wound up being separated before anything escalated.
As the clock struck 90’, Tijuana found themselves with a three-on-one breakaway. Lucero played the ball off to the left for Mateus, but his shot was saved by Saldívar. Two minutes later, Xolos would break again with Mateus dancing down the lef side. His initial shot hit off of Saldívar, and the rebound came to the Brazilian. He flicked the ball out to the front of the goal to a waiting Ignacio “Nacho” Malcorra, who finished it off as time expired to give Tijuana a 4-1 win.
Tijuana will head to Harlingen, Texas to face CD Motagua in the opening round of the CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday. They’ll then head to Mexico City to face Club América on Saturday in Liga MX play. Pumas return home to CDMX to host Lobos BUAP in Copa MX play on Wednesday before hosting Chivas on Sunday.
Club Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Damián Pérez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Pablo Aguilar, Omar Mendoza; Damián Musto, Ignacio Rivero (Alejandro Guido, 70’), Miller Bolaños (Luis Mendoza, 78’); Ignacio Malcorra, Gustavo Bou (Juan Lucero, 30’), Mateus Gonçalves
UNAM Pumas: Alfredo Saldívar, Luis Fuentes (Erick Torres, 46’), Luis Quintana, Alejandro Arribas, Josecarlos Van Rankin; Jesús Gallardo, David Cabrera, Marcelo Díaz, Pablo Barrera; Matías Alustiza (Abraham González, 61’); Nicolás Castillo (Alan Mendoza, 83’)
Scoring: Club Tijuana - Mateus Gonçalves (10’, 42’), Juan Lucero (penalty - 51’); UNAM Pumas - Nicolás Castillo (1’)
Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Yellow - 14’), Ignacio Malcorra (Yellow - 18’), Ignacio Rivero (Yellow - 59’), Pablo Aguilar (Yellow - 73’), Damián Musto (Yellow - 80’), Mateus Gonçalves (Yellow - 81’); UNAM Pumas - Nicolás Castillo (Yellow - 18’), David Cabrera (Yellow - 56’,Red - 56’), Pablo Barrera (Yellow - 81’)