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Match recap: Tijuana 3, Morelia 2

Xolos get a much needed win in a game that was predictably unpredictable.

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

With their season hanging in the balance, Tijuana got a much needed win at home against Monarcas Morelia. Despite failing to convert two penalty attempts, Xolos still managed to pull out a 3-2 win and sit just one point out of the Liguilla at the time of writing.

In the 15th minute it was Ángel Sepúlveda who broke the deadlock when he hit a perfectly placed header off of a beautiful cross from Miller Bolaños.

Monarcas would answer however in the 29th minute when Gastón Lezcano hit a rocket from about 25 yards out that simply beat goalkeeper Gibran Lajud to the top corner.

The game was at a frenetic pace when in the 36th minute Ariel Nahuelpán went down in the box and a penalty was awarded. Referee Roberto García went to VAR and confirmed his decision. Miller Bolaños stepped up and shot but it missed wide of the post.

Xolos would vet a second though when just after the 45 minute mark Bolaños hit a free kick. Jordan Silva took a wing at it and it deflected into the mix and hit off of Sepúlveda before Ariel Nahuelpán was able to bang the ball in past Sebastián Sosa.

In the 56th minute, Omar Mendoza went up and over the back of Mario Osuna to head the ball. After a lengthy VAR review, the penalty was confirmed. Osuna stepped up and converted his penalty to once again draw the sides level.

Both goalkeepers would be tested, with Sosa making a fantastic save on a long range shot in the 62nd before Lajud made one at the other end in the 66th. It looked like Xolos might have had a penalty awarded in the 70th minute when a ball was kicked into Efraín Velarde, but any contact with his arm was ruled coincidental.

VAR would be consulted again in the 75th minute after Sosa and Mendoza collided while going for a ball on a free kick. Xolos would be awarded a penalty and this time it would be Nahuelpán to step up and take it. Sosa would stone Nahuelpán’s initial shot and the rebound, but Morelia couldn’t clear the ball out of the zone and it wound up going to Mauro Lainez. Lainez would hit an angled shot past Sosa to give Xolos the lead.

The game would continue to get chippy but Tijuana would hang on through six minutes of stoppage time.

Tijuana heads to San Luis Potosí to take on Atlético San Luis on Sunday evening while Morelia will enjoy a bye this weekend. They’ll head to Puebla for a Copa MX match on Tuesday, October 1 before returning home to host Morelia on Friday, October 4.

Tijuana: Gibran Lajud; Aldo Cruz, Jordan Silva, Julián Velázquez, Omar Mendoza; Mauro Lainez (Washington Camacho, 82’), Kevin Balanta, Leonel Miranda, Ángel Sepúlveda (Ignacio Rivero, 80’); Miller Bolaños (Vladimir Loroña, 89’); Ariel Nahuelpán (Vladimir Loroña, 89’)

Morelia: Sebastián Sosa; Efraín Velarde, Sebastián Vegas, Gabriel Achilier, Mario Osuna; Cándido Ramírez (Joaquín Martínez, 46’), Gastón Lezcano, Aldo Rocha (Sagir Arce, 80’), Luis Mendoza; Fernando Aristeguieta, Miguel Sansores (Eduardo Del Ángel, 46’)

Scoring: Tijuana - Ángel Sepúlveda (15’), Ariel Nahuelpán (45+1’), Mauro Lainez (79’); Morelia - Gastón Lezcano (29’), Mario Osuna (57’ - penalty)

Disciplinary: Tijuana - Kevin Balanta (Yellow - 5’), Leonel Miranda (Yellow - 18’), Miller Bolaños (Yellow - 30’), Omar Mendoza (Yellow - 34’), Mauro Lainez (Yellow - 79’); Morelia - Efraín Velarde (Yellow - 68’), Sebastián Sosa (Yellow - 76’), Sagir Arce (Yellow - 90+4’), Sebastián Vegas (Yellow - 90+5’)