Cruz Azul came from behind with a goal in stoppage time from Gerardo Flores as they drew with Club Tijuana 1-1 after Xolos had taken a lead in the 79th minute in controversial fashion in action from Mexico’s Liga MX tonight. Cruz Azul also overcame the loss of former Tijuana player Pablo Aguilar in the 22nd minute as the defender received a second yellow for what seemed like a questionable foul.
¡Alineaciones listas! @EliasHdz08 es el jugador que más ha generado oportunidades de gol en el torneo con 9. Tiene dos asistencias. @gibranlajud25 es el portero con más atajadas en el torneo con 12. #XOLvCAZ pic.twitter.com/PhSdUP7vyG— PressPort (@PressPortmx) August 13, 2018
Tijuana almost struck in the first minute, as Juan Lucero streaked into the box unmarked in the first minute after a fine pass found him, but Cruz Azul’s Jesús Corona was able to stop the shot and play continued.
The match started very physical, with both teams, as the English would say, getting “stuck in” and looking to disrupt play with fouling. The referee did not waste any time dishing out yellow cards, even on plays that didn’t necessarily warrant a card.
In the 22nd minute, Pablo Aguliar harshly received a second yellow while shepherding a ball out into touch behind the goal. Aguliar’s arm went up in an effort to shield himself from being knocked over by a Tijuana player, but it appeared as if his elbow or forearm inadvertently caught the Xolo player in the face, which resulted in the player going down like he’d been shot.
A second yellow was produced, much to the annoyance and chagrin of the Cruz Azul players, and suddenly a match that was fairly even up to that point took a more defensive turn, as Cruz Azul dug in to defend and preserve a draw while Tijuana looked to go on the offensive and score a goal for the win.
Cruz Azul did well to limit the chances in the first half, despite the pressure from Xolos, the defense was solid and organized and forced Tijuana into bad shot selections and crosses that were either cleared or failed to test Corona.
Cruz Azul had a good shot in the 33rd minute from a breakout, as Adrián Aldrete tested Tijuana keeper Gibran Lajud, but Lajud did well to stop the shot. Going immediately back the other direction, Xolos took too long with plenty of time and space in the Cruz Azul box, and José Rivero’s acrobatic shot attempt went high and wide of the net.
Xolos continued to heap pressure on Cruz Azul, but the La Maquina did well to stop anything and everything that was put into the box from either crosses or corner kicks. Still more yellow cards were produced as Omar Mendoza from Xolos was given a yellow for a bad foul and then Rivero was also cut down from behind by a back tackle.
However, despite all the free kicks that were given out, nothing really ever came of any of the attacking efforts for either side. Xolos were especially wasteful, given the number of chances that they had.
Halftime came with both teams left ruing chances on net, while Xolos would feel frustrated to not have made life more difficult for Corona, while Cruz Azul would have had a bone to pick with the referee.
The second half saw the attacks from Xolos pick up where they left off, with more chances on net from Xolos interspersed with the occasional attack from La Maquina.
Cruz Azul went close in the 53rd minute, but once again Lajud was equal to the task and did well to keep the ball out of the back of the net.
Xolos had another good chance of their own in the 57th minute as Diego Gonzalez’s header was well saved by Corona. Tijuana continued the trend of putting the ball into dangerous positions and attempting shots on net with little to show for them, as the defense from Cruz Azul and Corona did well to keep them out.
Miller Bolaños finally broke the deadlock in the 79th minute, as his header from a free kick seemed to cross the goalline despite a desperate swat from Corona. Both sets of players would rush the assistant referee and argue their case, with some pushing and shoving resulting from the crowd, but no discipline was handed out, somehow, and play continued with the goal having counted.
Cruz Azul attempted to get back into the match a bit after going down, and they came close a couple times, with one shot deflected by Lajud over the goal for a corner kick and Aldrete hit the post a few minutes later.
#ErastadísticasFutboleras— #ErastadísticasFutboleras⚽ (@era_sandria) August 13, 2018
Gooooool ⚽ de Justicia gooooool de darlo todo por el todo, así fue el gol de Gerardo Flores para que el Cruz Azul empatara a #Xolos en un partido envuelto de polémica por el mal arbitraje de Santander pic.twitter.com/rgkhSpppnF
And then, in stoppage time, Cruz Azul got an equalizer from Flores, as he rose in the box and headed a looping shot that went over Lajud into the net. La Maquina fans in attendance cheered loudly and felt that justice had been done, given the controversial goal and sending off that had happened earlier in the match.
Perhaps a well-deserved point for both teams, as Cruz Azul continued their unbeaten streak to start the season, leaving them on 10 points and in second place on goal difference behind Pumas, while Tijuana sit in 10th place on five points, but only one point back of 8th place Tigres.