After a disappointing loss to Santos last week, Xolos needed a win to get back into the Liguilla hunt. With Tiburones Rojos de Veracruz coming to town, it would have been easy to fall into a trap but Xolos were able to gut out a 2-0 win thanks to a standout performance from Ariel Nahuelpán. The Argentine forward drew a penalty and then scored a goal to help his team’s cause.
It was Veracruz that started the game out on the front foot, looking to try and create some chances early to try and catch Xolos sleeping. While they weren’t exactly sharp, Xolos were able to manage the pressure and eventually turn the momentum into their favor. Veracruz was committed to maintaining defensive shape and structure, and all too often Tijuana would get a little too ambitious and turn the ball over cheaply.
The first good chance of the match was in the 42nd minute when Gabriel Peñalba hit a laser from distance. Gibran Lajud barely got his fingertips on the shot to push it into the crossbar. In stoppage before the half, Miller Bolaños had a great opportunity at the top of the arc but Jurado read his shot the whole way and was able to make the save. Bolaños had another shot immediately before the whistle but it was also stopped by Jurado.
Immediately after the start of the half, Camilo Sanvezzo had a good opportunity but his shot went just wide of the net. In the 48th Vladimir Loroña sent a great cross in to Sanvezzo but the resulting shot was scuffed and Jurado was able to easily scoop up the ball. In the 53rd, Ariel Nahuelpán was hauled down in the box by Luis Lozoya. Leonel Miranda stepped up and converted the penalty to give the hosts the 1-0 lead.
¡Eso, "Lolo"! ¡Vamos por más Xoloitzcuintles! pic.twitter.com/syLdbRH0Wo— Xolos (@Xolos) October 26, 2019
Veracruz didn’t just lie down and accept defeat. They applied pressure and in the 71st Colin Kazim-Richards hit a header off of the post. At the other end of the field just five minutes later Miranda hit a great ball forward to Nahuelpán, who hit a shot between Jurado’s legs as the goalkeeper fell to the turf, rolling slowly into the back of the net.
From there it was mostly Tijuana who dictated the pace of play. Brian Carrasco of Veracruz kept playing hard and trying to create opportunities to draw one back for the visitors, but Xolos were able to snuff out the chances and keep the lead.
Xolos will head to Guadalajara to face Chivas on Wednesday in Liga MX play while Veracruz heads home to host Puebla on Tuesday.
Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Vladimir Loroña, Jordan Silva, Julián Velázquez, Aldo Cruz; Mauro Lainez (Ignacio Rivero, 80’), Leonel Miranda, Kevin Balanta, Miller Bolaños; Ariel Nahuelpán (Erick Torres, 85’), Camilo Sanvezzo (Jorge Rojas, 66’)
Veracruz: Sebastián Jurado: Luis Lozoya, Carlos Salcido, Leobardo Lópes, Lampros Kontogiannis (Jesús Paganoni, 42’); Brian Carrasco, Abraham González (Jesús Henestrosa, 73’), Gaspar Iñiguez, Sebastián Rodríguez; Gabriel Peñalba; Daniel Villalva (Colin Kazim-Richards, 52’)
Scoring: Tijuana - Leonel Miranda (55’ - penalty), Ariel Nahuelpán (75’); Veracruz - None
Disciplinary: Tijuana - None; Veracruz - Luis Lozoya (Yellow - 79’)