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2019 Liga MX Clausura Liguilla match recap: León 2 (5), Tijuana 1 (2)

A brace from Joel Campbell was more than enough for León to see off Tijuana and advance to the semifinals

Leon v Tijuana - Playoffs Torneo Clausura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

It was never going to be easy for Tijuana to advance, and a two goal performance from Joel Campbell sealed their fate as León defeated Xolos 2-1 in the match and 5-2 on aggregate.

Both teams started the match by working the ball downfield down the wings and probing for space centrally, finding little over the top in the way of scoring chances. This would change for León however in the 8th minute. Joel Campbell was able to beat the offside trap on the left side, got a perfect pass from Luís “Chapo” Montes, and fired it past goalkeeper Gibran Lajud to extend León’s lead to 4-1 on the aggregate.

In the 13th minute, José Juan Macías was able to hit a shot that wrong-footed Lajud, but luckily for Xolos the ball rolled just wide of the far post. León was able to dictate the tempo of play, looking comfortable off of the ball as well as on it. Tijuana was largely wasteful in possession, with runs upfield killed by errant passes or missed runs.

In the 28th minute, Campbell would double his total when León caught Tijuana on the counter. Macías brought the ball up the center of the pitch, made a pass out to Chapo Montes on the right, who crossed it to Campbell on the left. Campbell’s header beat Lajud to the near post to put the match and series even further out of reach for Tijuana.

Tijuana was almost able to get one back in the 38th minute when Gustavo “Pantera” Bou hit a rocket of a shot from distance that went just over the bar. Pantera would get one in the 44th minute when Miller Bolaños played a great ball up the seam that Bou was able to get to and hit a shot back across the grain of play and into the net.

Shortly after the start of the second half, Jean Menenses would cut from the left wing toward the right and hit a shot off of the far post. In the 50th, Ángel Mena would get a great ball over the top and fire a shot that Lajud made a diving save on. Lajud woul make another save minutes later on a Menenses shot.

Tijuana would get a flurry of chances in the 65th minute that culminated in Jesús Angulo firing a shot at an open net that went well wide. Three minutes later, Cota would play a pass forward that went right to Ariel Nahuelpán, but the bit Argentine’s strike went just wide.

In the 70th minute, Xolos thought they had another goal when Miller Bolaños shot from a tight angle. The shot deflected off of Pantera Bou and past Cota, but a VAR review determined Bou to be offside.

As time wound down, tempers started to flare and fouls got harder. In the 82nd minute, Diego Braghieri was shown a yellow card after a hard foul started a mass confrontation near the center circle, with both teams pushing and shoving one another while exchanging pleasantries.

The match would end without further incident, and León would progress on to the semifinal round.

León: Rodolfo Cota; William Tesillo, Andrés Mosquera, Fernando Navarro, Ramíro González; Jean Menenses (Rubens Sambueza, 59’), Luís Montes, José Rodríguez, Ángel Mena; Joel Campbell (Carlos Guerrero, 88’), José Juan Macías (Yairo Moreno, 69’)

Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Luis Fuentes, Diego Braghieri, Julián Velázquez, Omar Mendoza; Diego Rodríguez (Kevin Balanta, 46’), Ignacio Rivero; Jesús Angulo (Luis Chávez, 79’), Miller Bolaños, Gustavo Bou; Ariel Nahuelpán (Eryc Castillo, 79’)

Scoring: León - Joel Campbell (8’, 28’); Tijuana - Gustavo Bou (45’)

Disciplinary: León - José Rodríguez (Yellow - 54’), Luís Montes (Yellow - 74’); Tijuana - Gustavo Bou (Yellow - 17’), Miller Bolañons (Yellow - 74’), Diego Braghieri (Yellow - 82’)