With Puebla tying Tigres in the early match, Tijuana had an opportunity to leapfrog them into Liguilla position heading into the final match of the season. They’d answer the call, scoring four against a Morelia side playing down a player for most of the match and setting up a Week 17 showdown with Puebla that has Liguilla implications for multiple teams.
The game started out slowly and without a lot of rhythm or flow.In the 8th minute, the match was stopped for the referee to review a foul where Sebastián Vegas was hit by a forearm by Miller Bolaños. After a minute standing over the screen, a yellow card was shown to Bolaños.
In the 13th minute, Rodrigo Millar came down the left side and hit a cross into the box that found the head of Miguel Sansores. Sansores would re-direct the ball into the far corner of the net to give Morelia the early lead.
In the 20th minute, Xolos would equalize. Jesús Angulo would get the ball from close to the penalty spot out wide left to Gustavo “Pantera” Bou. Bou’s subsequent shot was partially blocked by Mario Osuna, causing the ball to take a high arcing trajectory that threw goalkeeper Luís Malagón off and allowed the ball to sail into the net.
Tijuana would have another good chance in the 31st when Bolaños was left unmarked on the right side of the box, but his shot got away from him and sailed high and wide of the net. In the 35th minute, Miguel Sansores would be shown a second yellow card for a hard foul on Ignacio Rivero.
After the sending off, Tijuana looked to retain possession and get players into position before attempting a shot. This often allowed Morelia to get players back into a defensive position before Tijuana could line up the shot they wanted. Ariel Nahuelpán picked up a yellow card in the first half and found himself constantly running afoul of the referee. He was switched out for Eryc “La Culebra” Castillo at the half to prevent Nahuelpán getting sent off and missing the critical final week match.
In the 56th minute, La Pantera would strike again. Receiving the ball just past the center circle, Pantera juked past two defenders and uncorked a blast that buried itself into the top right corner of the net to give Xolos the lead.
Two minutes later, Bou would be pushed from behind by Mario Osuna in the box and draw the penalty. Miller Bolaños would step up and hit it hard and true, beating Malagón and giving Xolos the 3-1 lead.
Tijuana wasn’t done. In the 65th, Angulo would play the give and go with Pantera and drive into the box, draw Malagón off of his line, and fire the ball into the back of the net for Xolos’ fourth of the night.
Monarcas would show some life minues later when on a corner kick the ball would fall to the feet of 31, who’d shoot point blank on goal. Goalkeeper Gibran Lajud made a fine save to keep the hosts from drawing one back. In the 80th, Xolos would break down field and the shot from La Culebra would be cleared off of the line by Gabriel Achilier. Xolos would get a bit of a scare when Bou woud take a knee-to-knee hit from Achilier in the 85th, however he was able to come back on and finish the game.
Next week Morelia will head to Mexico City to face Cruz Azul on Saturday afternoon, while Xolos will host Puebla later that evening.
Monarcas Morelia: Luís Malagón; Mario Osuna, Sebastián Vegas, Gabriel Achilier, Efraín Velarde; Alberto Acosta (Gastón Lezcano, 57’), Aldo Rocha, Rodrigo Millar (Ariel Uribe, 61’); Candido Ramírez (Carlos ‘Ferreira, 42’), Miguel Sansores, Edison Flores
Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Luis Fuentes, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Julián Velázquez, Omar Mendoza; Diego Rodríguez (Kevin Balanta, 69’), Ignacio Rivero; Jesús Angulo, Gustavo Bou, Miller Bolaños (Diego González, 75’); Ariel Nahuelpán (Eryc Castillo, 46’)
Scoring: Monarcas Morelia - Miguel Sansores (13’); Tijuana - Gustavo Bou (20’, 56’), Miller Bolaños (Penalty - 60’), Jesús Angulo (65’)
Disciplinary: Monarcas Morelia - Miguel Sansores (Yellow - 19’, Second Yellow - 35’); Tijuana - Miller Bolaños (Yellow - 9’), Ariel Nahuelpán (Yellow - 33’)