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Match recap: Tijuana 3, Cruz Azul 2

A thrilling finish as Xolos come back from down 2-1 to win 3-2 against Cruz Azul.

Tijuana v Cruz Azul - Torneo Apertura 2019 Liga MX Photo by Gonzalo Gonzalez/Jam Media/Getty Images

Cruz Azul started strong and looked to be well on their way to victory, but a second yellow card to Adrián Aldrete put Xolos up a player and the Aztec Canines were able to come back from a 2-1 deficit to win 3-2. The game winning goal came from none other than Erick “El Cubo” Torres.

In the fifth minute, Xolos would concede a foul deep when José Madueña was taken down. On the free kick, Pablo Aguilar would head the ball past goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. The play was reviewed by VAR and it looked like Igor Lichnovsky had hauled down a player in the box but the referee determined it did not impact the outcome of the play and the goal was allowed to stand.

The frustration would build for Xolos, as Mauro Lainez and Miller Bolaños were involved in a shoving match with some Cruz Azul players in the 10th minute. A minute later Diego Braghieri would pick up a yellow card for a poor challenge just outside of the box. This time however the set piece did not work for La Máquina.

In addition to the frustration fouls, Xolos looked completely disconnected as a team. Passes went nowhere, runs weren’t made, and the team really couldn’t get much of anything happening offensively until the 18th minute when Cruz Azul hauled down a player just outside of the box. Bolaños hit a free kick that Julián Velázquez was able to get his head on and bring the sides level once more.

In the 24th minute there would be more controversy as Santiago Giménez, son of legendary Cruz Azul attacking midfielder Christian “El Chaco” Giménez, drove down into the Tijuana box and hit a pass that hit Diego Braghieri in the chest and arm. The play was reviewed and the penalty was confirmed. Yoshimar Yotún stepped up and hit a panenka to give Cruz Azul the lead again.

In the 32nd minute, Xolos had a great chance when Ignacio Rivero picked out Ángel Sepúlveda in the box with space, but Sepúlveda rushed his shot and sent it into the side netting. In the 42nd minute, Omar Mendoza made a fantastic defensive stop on Adrián Aldrete, making a sliding tackle to dispossess him and then staying with the ball to box Aldrete out and win a foul.

Xolos would have a good opportunity in the 50th minute when Ariel Nahuelpán haa shot that José “Chuy” Corona made a great save on. Then on the restart Mauro Lainez hit a wicked shot that Chuy made a fantastic diving save to keep out of the net.

Xolos would get a break when Aldrete came in hard from behind on Bolaños and picked up his second yellow card. Tijuana would capitalize on that in the 62nd minute when Kevin Balanta hit a hopeful shot from distance that took a deflection and caught Chuy wrong-footed.

Xolos had finally hit their stride. in the 66th, Omar Mendoza hit a great cross into the box for Nahuelpán, and his header went just over the net. In the 71st, newcomer César Falletti hit a fantastic shot that just skimmed the top of the crossbar. Cruz Azul would get a chance of their own when Guillermo Fernández hit a shot from distance but Lajud was there and made a solid stop on the shot. Washington Camacho had a chance in the 87th minute when he was played alone into space in the box but he couldn’t pull the ball out of his feet and the shot went nowhere.

In the 93rd minute, Camacho would get some redemption by setting up the game winner when he got his head onto a ball up to Cubo Torres, who hit a shot that got past Chuy to beat his old team.

Tijuana will head to Aguascalientes to face Necaxa on Saturday, while Cruz Azul will return to Mexico City to host Chivas in the late game on Saturday.

Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Leonel Miranda, Diego Braghieri, Julián Velázquez, Omar Mendoza; Mauro Lainez (Washington Camacho, 76’), Kevin Balanta, Ignacio Rivero (César Falletti, 69’); Ángel Sepúlveda (Erick Torres, 76’), Ariel Nahuelpán, Miller Bolaños

Cruz Azul: Jesús Corona; José Madueña, Pablo Aguilar, Julio Domínguez, Adrián Aldrete; Orbelín Pineda, Igor Lichnovsky, Yoshimar Yotún; Roberto Alvarado (Juan Escobar, 56’), Santiago Giménez (Guillermo Fernández, 64’), Edgar Mendez (Bryan Angulo, 65’)

Scoring: Tijuana - Julián Velázquez (18’), Kevin Balanta (62’), Erick Torres (90+3’); Cruz Azul - Pablo Aguilar (5’), Yoshimar Yotún (26’)

Disciplinary: Tijuana - Ariel Nahuelpán (Yellow - 2’), Diego Braghieri (Yellow - 12’), Ángel Sepúlveda (Yellow - 46’), Mauro Lainez (Yellow - 54’), Julián Velázquez (Yellow - 77’), Erick Torres (Yellow - 90+4’); Cruz Azul - Adrián Aldrete (Yellow - 37’, 55’), Yoshimar Yotún (Yellow - 51’), José Corona (Yellow - 85’), Orbelín Pineda (Yellow - 90+7’)