Every so often, Liga MX will seemingly go out of its way to live up to its reputation as a wild league where anything is possible. Tijuana’s 1-0 win over Atlas was such an occasion, albeit perhaps not in the most elegant or entertaining sense.
It has been very rainy in Guadalajara lately, and as a result the field conditions at Estadio Jalisco were bad, with parts of the pitch pockmarked and muddy. Players slipped and fell, and some wound up with mud in their eyes as part of the match. Paradero Boys, who cover Atlas in English from Guadalajara, tweeted that not only had it been raining for a week straight but the U20s played a game immediately before the match.
In the 14th minute, Juan Carlos “Topo”Valenzuela would be shown a straight red card when in the course of clearing the ball he raked hist studs down the shin of Bryan Garnica. Topo would plead his case to the referee but to no avail. Xolos would be a man down for the remaining 75 minutes.
The tone of the game changed after that, with Tijuana bunkering and keeping men behind the ball. The play was as sloppy as the surface. In the 38th minute, Lorenzo Reyes would hit Gustavo Canto in the stomach after the play had stopped and was shown a straight red card.
Atlas had a chance at goal immediately after the start of the second half, but goalscorer Jefferson Duque was judged to be offside.
In the 56th minute, Luis Fuentes went up on a corner kick and got his head on the ball, beating José Hernández and giving Tijuana the 1-0 lead.
Xolos’ defensive midfielder Luis Chávez would need to be substituted out after just six minutes of play when he rolled his left ankle on a shot attempt. He was shown later in the match on the bench, his swollen ankle wrapped in ice.
Ultimately Tijuana was able to hang on and grind out the win, extending Atlas’ misery both in front of goal and in the table. Atlas will head to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul on Saturday, while Xolos will host Pachuca next Saturday evening.
Club Atlas: José Hernández; Heriberto Olvera (Clifford Aboagye, 80’), Leitón Jiménez, Omar Gonzalez, Ismael Govea (Ían Torres, 59’); Lorenzo Reyes; Ulises Cardona, Juan Vigón (Raúl Rivero, 59’), Bryan Garnica; Andrés Andrade, Jefferson Duque
Club Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Luis Fuentes, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Julián Velázquez, Omar Mendoza; Fabián Castillo (Luis Chávez, 67’; Jesús Angulo, 73’), Diego Rodríguez, Diego González, Ignacio Rivero; Miller Bolaños; Juan Martín Lucero (Gustavo Canto, 22’)
Scoring: Club Atlas - None; Club Tijuana - Luis Fuentes (56’)
Disciplinary: Club Atlas - Omar González (Yellow - 13’), Bryan Garnica (Yellow - 27’), Lorenzo Reyes (Red - 38’); Club Tijuana - Juan Carlos Valenzuela (Red - 15’), Diego Rodríguez (Yellow - 27’), Miller Bolaños (Yellow, 90+1’)