Anyone who’s watched more than a couple of Liga MX matches knows that literally anything can happen and to expect the unexpected. The unexpected happened this evening as Club Tijuana was able to overcome a brace from former central defensive midfielder Guido Rodríguez to get a 3-2 win over defending Liga MX champions Club América
Early in the match Club América was content to concede possession to Tijuana, inviting Xolos to try to break down the defense in an attempt to hit the home side on a counterattack. In the 12th minute, América would do just that, hitting Tijuana on the counter when Henry Martín would draw out goalkeeper Gibran Lajud and hit a cross, but the bicycle attempt by Nicolas Benedetti was scuffed and the ball cleared out.
A minute later, Guido Rodríguez would tee up a shot from about 35 yards out that would beat a diving Lajud to put Las Águilas up early in the match.
Pero... ¡QUÉ GOLAZO! @Guido_Rodriguez le pegó desde afuera del área y la clavó en el arco de Xolos #FOXLigaMX @SirJohnLaguna @marianot19 @RodolfoLanderos @emperadorsuarez @yani_gianola pic.twitter.com/A8EYRKvEJ6— FOX Deportes (@FOXDeportes) April 7, 2019
The goal would wake Tijuana up. Xolos would get a long stretch of pressure in the América end of the pitch, but ultimately nothing testing goalkeeper Agustín Marchesín. América would high press Xolos to try and pressure them into mistakes. Marchesín would seemingly tweak his right ankle
In the 32nd minute, Tijuana ould come down the pitch with some pace. Fabián Castillo would play a square ball in to Miller Bolaños at the top of the 18, and Bolaños would hit a beautiful shot into the top left corner.
América would once again grab the lead in the 39th minute when off of another short corner Benedetti would cross it to Guido Rodríguez, who would hit a volley past Lajud. The goal would go to VAR as Benedetti appeared to step on Ariel Nahuelpán, however there was no foul called and the goal would stand.
Tijuana would once again immediately go back on the offensive, applying pressure to the visitors, but wouldn’t be able to equalize before the halftime whistle.
After the half, the play was back and forth at a frenetic pace. Xolos worked down the right hand side often, trying to catch the left side of América’s defense asleep. In the 62nd minute it would be América with the chance when sub Antonio López would make a move down the left side of the pitch and cross it in to Henry Martín, but the former Xolos player’s header would go over the bar.
In the 65th minute play would be stopped as the referee would return to the VAR booth to review a potential elbow to the face in the box to Ariel Nahuelpán. After almost ten minutes worth of review and discussion, the penalty would be awarded. Gustavo “Pantera” Bou would step up to the spot and send Marchesín the wrong way to knot the match.
The goal would instill some newfound confidence in La Pantera, and and on a counter attack in the 75th minute, Bou would spring Nahuelpán . Naheulpán would beat Edson Álvarez and fire a shot past Marchesín to equalize. The goal would be reviewed by VAR and it would stand to give Xolos the lead.
¡Otro gol de @Xolos! Nahuelpán puso en ventaja al equipo local por primera vez en el partido #FOXLigaMX @SirJohnLaguna @RodolfoLanderos @marianot19 @emperadorsuarez @yani_gianola pic.twitter.com/gi4axkJx2i— FOX Deportes (@FOXDeportes) April 7, 2019
It would be América’s turn to press forward but Xolos would give them a taste of their own medicine, staying compact on defense and looking to counter against the defending Liga MX champions. Manager Óscar Pareja would sub off Pantera for Juan Carlos “Topo” Valenzuela in the first of the nine added minutes to shore up the defense. The match would get testy at the end, and after the whistle blew it would take some doing to keep the players and coaching staffs separated and calm.
Tijuana will head to Mexico City to play UNAM Pumas on Sunday while Club América will head to Juárez to play FC Juárez in the Copa MX Final on Wednesday before returning home to host Cruz Azul on Sunday.
Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Luis Fuentes, Diego Braghieri, Julián Velázquez, Omar Mendoza; Diego Rodríguez, Ignacio Rivero; Fabián Castillo (Jesús Angulo, 80’), Gustavo Bou (Juan Carlos Valenzuela, 90+1’), Miller Bolaños (Luis Chávez, 90+4’); Ariel Nahuelpán
Club América: Agustín Marchesín; Paul Aguilar, Edson Álvarez, Carlos Vargas, Luis Reyes (Renato Ibarra, 89’); Guido Rodríguez, Matheus Uribe; Sebastián Córdova (Antonio López, 59’), Nicolas Benedetti, Carlos Ibargüen; Henry Martín
// S Q U A D— Club América (@ClubAmerica_EN) April 7, 2019
1️⃣2️⃣ Luis Reyes
2️⃣ Carlos Vargas
2️⃣2️⃣ Paul Aguilar
1️⃣1️⃣ Andrés Ibargüen
2️⃣1️⃣ @HenryMartinM pic.twitter.com/wc8DnHmw3P
Scoring: Tijuana - Miller Bolaños (31’), Gustavo Bou (70’ - Penalty), Ariel Nahuelpán (74’); Club América - Guido Rodríguez (13’, 39’)
Disciplinary: Tijuana - Fabián Castillo (Yellow - 13’), Miller Bolaños (Yellow - 90+5’), Omar Mendoza (90+10’); Club América - Paul Aguilar (Yellow - 21’), Edson Álvarez (Yellow - 33’), Carlos Vargas (Yellow - 71’), Antonio López (Yellow - 85’), Guido Rodríguez (Yellow - 90+7’)