It was never going to be easy for either team. Tijuana was always playing for the scoreless draw, while Tigres would be looking to get just one past one of Liga MX’s most feared defensive units. But as is often the case, it was André-Pierre Gignac that was the difference-maker, giving Tigres the 1-0 win at El Volcán.
From the start, Tigres took the initiative on offense. Xolos to their credit were resolute on defense, not allowing Tigres space to get set up in the box. Xolos goalkeeper Gibran Lajud would make several punch-outs on crosses flying through his box, and Xolos seemed to always have men behind the ball to clog up space.
In the 14th minute Lajud made a fantastic diving save on a shot from distance from Luis Rodríguez, leaping across the goal mouth and getting a glove on the shot before any damage was done.
Tijuana did have a couple of offensive breaks in the early part of the match, usually as a result of Eryc Castillo marauding down Xolos right wing. Castillo would lay several crosses off to the left side of the pitch, however because of Tijuana’s desire to keep men back on defense the crosses would often go to an empty space.
In the 40th minute, André-Pierre Gignac had a fantastic chance on goal, receiving the ball with his back to goal and attempting a chileno, but Lajud was positioned perfectly and made the stop. Two minutes later, Lucas Zelerayán hit a shot from twenty yards out that just skimmed over the crossbar.
In the 51st, Luis Chávez would hit a shot from distance, however Nahuel Guzmán would make a fantastic diving save to keep Xolos off of the board.
In the 59th minute, Tigres was finally able to break through the Xolos defense. On a cross from Javier Aquino, Gignac was given too much free space by the Xolos defense. He was able to get up and get a head on the ball, directing it past the outstretched arm of Lajud to give Tigres the lead.
Tijuana would start pushing forward some after conceding the goal, but were still keeping men behind the play to help snuff out any counterattacks from the home side. in the 82nd minute off of a quick restart, Castillo played a little give-and-go with Cubo Torres, however his run was well defended and his shot went into the side netting.
In the 88th minute Juan Martín Lucero would get a shot off that would streak just wide of Nahuel’s net. Xolos would get plenty of chances during the three minutes of stoppage, but were ultimately unable to convert.
Tijuana will return home to face arch-rivals León next Sunday, while Tigres will head to México City to face Cruz Azul at Estadio Azteca on Saturday.
Tigres UANL: Nahuel Guzmán; Jesús Dueñas, Jorge Torres Nilo, Hugo Ayala, Luís Rodríguez; Guido Pizarro, Rafael Carioca (Juninho, 46’), Javier Aquino, Lucas Zelerayán (Eduardo Vargas, 78’), Jürgen Damm; André-Pierre Gignac
Club Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Luis Fuentes, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Julián Velázquez, Omar Mendoza; Diego Rodríguez; Rubio Rubín (Jesús Angulo, 64’), Luis Chávez (Diego González, 75’), Ignacio Rivero (Erick Torres, 68’), Eryc Castillo; Juan Martín Lucero
Scoring: Tigres UANL - André-Pierre Gignac (59’); Club Tijuana - None
Disciplinary: Tigres UANL - None; Club Tijuana - None