Xolos de Tijuana goalkeeper Gibrán Lajud rightly deserves to be named man of the match following his absolutely fantastic performance in between the sticks to allow his team’s makeshift squad to sneak out of the Estadio Azteca with a point in a scoreless draw against an incredibly talented Club América sitting atop the standings.
From the moment that the starting lineups were announced it was obviously apparent that Xolos would need a massive game from Lajud. Head coach Diego Cocca was forced to rotate his match day squad following a tough midweek CONCACAF Champions Leage match against Motagua in Edinburgh, Texas. In order to compensate for a less than full strength squad, Cocca set his squad up in a very conservative defensive formation in an attempt to frustrate the talented Club América attack.
It’s safe to say that Diego Cocca’s strategy payed off brilliantly as the final scoreline read 0-0. However, this wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for goalkeeper Gibrán Lajud making some absolutely unbelievable saves to deny Club América attackers from point blank range.
For Miguel Herrera and Club América this match could be described as nothing other than frustrating. Despite having 70% possession in the match las Águilas were unable to both breakdown the visiting team’s defense and beat the goalkeeper. On several different occasions, Club América players managed to break through the astute Xolos defense only to have their best efforts foiled by Gibrán Lajud in between the goalposts. In particular, Henry Martin had a golden opportunity to score in a one v one situation with Lajud. However, instead of lifting the ball over the keeper he slammed a shot right into his torso stopping the promising attack dead in its tracks.
This match should serve as a prime example of how to slow down the otherwise unbeatable Club América of the 2018 Clausura tournament for other Luga MX teams across the league. For Miguel Herrera and company, this match should highlight some of the weaknesses in his team that had been hidden by the recent string of positive results achieved by the Mexico City squad.