A strong performance offensively and another solid performance from Gibran Lajud was enough to see Club Tijuana defeat FC Motagua on a 2-1 aggregate score. Tijuana ended the evening with a staggering 18 shots, 9 of which were on net.
It wasn’t long after the initial whistle until Tijuana was on the board. In the second minute, a poor punch by Motagua goalkeeper Jonathan Rougier went to Miller Bolaños, who did well to keep the ball in the offensive zone. José Alberto García was poorly defended by the Motagua defenders, and “Beto” was able to pull the ball down and fire a shot past Rougier to put Xolos up 1-0 on the evening.
After the goal, Tijuana settled down the pace of play and looked to retain possession more than they’re used to doing. The border dogs were able to generate some chances, however those chances resulted in to precious few shots on goal.
It was even more dire for Motagua, who were swarmed by the defensive-minded Xolos during much of the first half. The best chance of the half was a header by Rubilio Castillo that went well wide of Lajud’s net.
In the 41st minute, Bolaños sent a pass out to Mateus Gonçalves, who crossed it back across the front of the goal, however Beto García was unable to get on the end of it.
Just before the half ended, Xolos were awarded a free kick just outside of the 18 yard box but the resulting shot went straight to Jonathan Rougier, who held on to the ball.
After the break, Lajud would come up huge by smothering a shot by Motagua’s Castillo. Tijuana captain Pablo Aguilar had a good shot that went into the side netting in the 52nd minute, as Tijuana continued to dominate the overall flow of the match. In the 60th minute, Gonçalves hit an Omar Mendoza cross at speed, however the header went just above the crossbar.
.@RocketLeague Replay: 61' Good chance for @Xolos! Omar Mendoza finds space in the wing and squares the ball to Gonçalves who is unable to finish and the ball flies over the crossbar | #SCCL2018 pic.twitter.com/9EwxivFWxs— THE CHAMPIONS (@TheChampions) February 28, 2018
In the 73rd minute off of a free kick straight off of the training ground, Miller Bolaños hit one flush off of the post. The rebound went to Luis “Quick” Mendoza, however he didn’t strike the ball cleanly and it went out of bounds.
In the next minute, Alejandro Guido would hit a fantastic shot that Rougier made a diving save on. The barrage continued when Quick Mendoza sent in another cross that Pablo Aguilar got onto but Rougier again came up big. Alejandro Guido and Damián Pérez both had additional shots on goal that Rougier was forced to stop.
It was almost all for naught though as Javier Estupiñán hit one off of the crossbar in the 86th minute. A minute later, disaster struck for Tijuana as Walter Martínez hit a tight angle shot that made its way past Lajud and into the far corner of the net to pull Motagua within one on the aggregate.
It wouldn’t matter though as Tijuana was able to hang on and advance to the quarterfinals where they’ll face the winner of the Olimpia - New York Red Bulls series next week. They’ll return to Liga MX action on Friday when they host Lobos BUAP.
Club Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Omar Mendoza, Damián Pérez, Pablo Aguilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela; Mateus Gonçalves (Julio Angula, 79’), Damián Musto (Fernando Arce, Jr., 86’), Ignacio Rivero (Alejandro Guido, 70’), Luis Mendoza; Miller Bolaños; José Alberto García
FC Motagua: Jonathan Rougier; Denil Maldonado, Marcelo Santos, Marcelo Pereira, Juan Pablo Montes; Walter Martínez, Carlos Discua, Reinieri Mayorquín (Javier Estupiñán, 65’), Wilmer Crisanto (Kevin López, 73’), Kilfox Bernárdez (Omar Elvir, 52’) ; Rubilio Castillo
Scoring: Club Tijuana - José Alberto García (2’); FC Motagua - Walter Martínez (88’)
Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - José Alberto García (Yellow - 44’); FC Motagua - Kilfox Bernárdez (Yellow - 49’)