André-Pierre Gignac’s physics-defying golazo in the 43rd minute was the difference maker, as Tigres UANL downed Club Tijuana 1-0 at El Volcán. Tijuana’s road woes were extended in Nuevo León, as they once again did not score while away from Estadio Caliente.
Tijuana’s lineup and formation were significantly different from their usual, with only Gibran Lajud, Pablo Aguilar, and Juan Carlos “Topo” Valenzuela having started the previous game against the New York Red Bulls. With five natural center backs, the setup was unconventional but somehow worked - to a degree.
Tijuana played a very conservative, defensive game early on. They were cautious to get numbers back at the first sign of danger. The first good chance on goal for Tigres came in the ninth minute, when Jesús Dueñas got on the end of a cross, but his touch on the ball redirected it just wide of the net. In the 15th minute, Xolos narrowly avoided conceding when Hugo Ayala’s header off of a free kick went into the side netting.
Minutes later, André-Pierre Gignac would receive the ball deep and in a fluid motion turn and fire at Lajud, who made the save. Gignac went down to the turf untouched, however he was able to get up shortly after and resume play.
In the 24th minute, Xolos started to gain some offensive momentum. Julio Angulo played a perfect ball square to Alejandro Guido, however Guido’s shot whistled just wide of Nahuel Guzmán’s net. In the 28th minute, Xolos would drive down and Ignacio “Nacho” Malcorra’s shot would be deflected out for a corner. Pablo Aguilar would get a head on the ball inbound, but the bounce was too high and it went over Guzmán’s net. A minute later, Luis Chávez would whistle a shot just wide.
Gignac attempted a fantastic chilena in the 34th minute on a fast break but Lajud made an even better save on the shot.
Gignac would capitalize on his next chance however. He made a move to get around Luis Chávez and hit a swerving shot that buckled Gibran Lajud’s knees and gave Tigres the lead just before halftime. Gignac’s eighth goal of the season sits him second in Liga MX, behind Santos Laguna’s Djaniny Tavares (12).
Tijuana looked much more dangerous in the second half, getting several more good looks at goal. But ultimately Xolos only managed to get two shots on goal the entire evening.
In the 70th minute. Gignac would line up a free kick low to the left o the Tijuana goal. His shot hooked in but Lajud read it correctly and punched it out safely.
A minute after picking up his first yellow card of the evening, Alejandro Guido and Enner Valencia were racing downfield for a loose ball. Lajud came out and looked good to beat Valencia, but Guido still made contact with Valencia. Valencia went down and Guido was sent off.
With the club down to 10 men, Xolos offense sputtered and was ultimately unable to trouble Nahuel or Tigres much. Tijuana wouldn’t mount much of anything offensively and Tigres would get all three points.
Tijuana will head to New Jersey to face the New York Red Bulls in the second leg of the Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinals on Tuesday. Their next Liga MX match is at Estadio Caliente against Monarcas Morelia on Friday. Tigres also have a Concacaf Champions League Quarterfinal match on Tuesday, hosting Toronto FC. They then head to Guadalajara to face Chivas on Saturday.
Tigres UANL: Nahuel Guzmán; Jorge Torres Nilo, Juninho, Hugo Ayala, Alberto Acosta; Javier Aquino, Rafael de Souza, Jesús Dueñas; André-Pierre Gignac (Lucas Zelerayán, 90’), Ismael Sosa (Jürgen Damm, 67’), Eduardo Vargas (Enner Valencia, 69’)
Club Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Michael Orozco, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Jesús Chávez (Miller Bolaños, 57’), Pablo Aguilar, Hiram Muñoz; Ignacio Malcorra, Alejandro Guido, Luis Chávez (Ignacio Rivero, 54’), Julio Angulo; Rubio Rubin (José Alberto Garcia, 71’)
Scoring: Tigres UANL - André-Pierre Gignac (43’); Club Tijuana - None
Disciplinary: Tigres UANL - Jorge Torres Nilo (Yellow - 71’); Club Tijuana - Alejandro Guido (Yellow - 79’, 80’)