Xolos came into the match on a goal drought spanning back a full month and four straight games (five if you count their Copa MX match against Monterrey) and desperately needing points. They’d neither break the drought or get the points they needed, losing to Pachuca 2-0 at Estadio Caliente.
Tijuana started with one of its most offensive-minded lineups in recent memory, a departure from Pablo Guede’s conservative style and especially puzzling going up against Pachuca’s tough defense. It almost backfired immediately when in the seventh minute an unmarked Ismael Sosa rocketed a shot off of the crossbar. Tijuana tried counterattacking but Pachuca was able to anticipate passes and keep players back. When Xolos tried to build play up, Pachuca simply through more players back to defend.
Xolos were able to get a shot on goal in the 11th when Fabián Castillo got a great cut-back pass from the end line, but his shot went straight into the hands of Oscar Ustari. Sosa got another shot off in the 19th but Jonathan Orozco was able to grab on to it. Orozco made a good save on a shot from Víctor Dávila in the 25th, tipping it up into the air and fighting off Sosa to grab onto it.
Xolos had a good chance in the 27th when Edgar López was played through into the box. He lost control of the ball and David Barbona hit a shot that Ustari tipped over for a corner kick. In the 35th Pachuca was able to get some sustained pressure and Erick Aguirre made a move down the left, went down to the end line, and hit a cut-back pass to Víctor “Pocho” Guzmán. Pocho was unmarked and the Tijuana defense could do little but watch the ball sail into the open net.
Tuzos kept pressing, and Tijuana offered little in the way of ideas to counter. Pachuca had a couple of near misses, but wound up taking just the one goal lead into the locker room for halftime.
In the early part of the second half it was more of the same, with Pachuca largely controlling the run of play while Tijuana looked for opportunities to break upfield. On one such break upfield in the 55th Fabián Castillo was in one-on-one with Ustari, but Ustari did well to let Castillo run out most of his room and make a well-positioned save once Castillo’s options had just about run out.
Ustari was again well-positioned in the 66th minute when a cross into the box found the head of Bryan Angulo. Then minutes later Jordi Cortizo fouled Víctor Dávila from behind in the box and a penalty was awarded. Roberto de la Rosa stepped up and converted the penalty to make it 2-0.
From there it was just a matter of Pachuca doing enough to be dangerous and keep Tijuana pinned back in their own end, running down as much of the clock as possible. Xolos will face Rayados in Monterrey for the final leg of the Copa MX on Wednesday (Rayados leads 1-0 on aggregate) before going to Querétaro for the final match of the season on Sunday. Pachuca heads back home to host Necaxa on Monday, November 9.
Club Tijuana: Jonathan Orozco; Jordi Cortizo, Víctor Guzmán, Miguel Barbieri (Jordan Silva, 58’), Vladimir Loroña (Jaime Gómez, 58’); Mauro Lainez, Christian Rivera, Marcel Ruiz; Fabián Castillo (Jordan Rezabala, 58’), Edgar López (Luis Leal, 70’), David Barbona (Bryan Angulo, 45’)
Pachuca: Oscar Ustari; Erick Aguirre (Cristian Souza, 90’), Oscar Murillo, Gustavo Cabral, Kevin Álvarez; Luis Chávez, Erick Sánchez; Víctor Dávila (Bryan González, 83’), Víctor Guzmán (Efraín Orona, 82’), Ismael Sosa (Emmanuel García, 69’) ; Roberto de la Rosa (Francisco Figueroa, 68’)
Este es el #XITuzo con el que enfrentaremos hoy a #Tijuana:— Club Pachuca (@Tuzos) October 31, 2020
5- @OscarUstari (C)
9- @Rober_delarosa9#TeExtraño#PorLaSaludDeTodos#TeJuroQueTeAmo #TIJPAC pic.twitter.com/gcaa4crZ2o
Scoring: Club Tijuana - None; Pachuca - Víctor Guzmán (35’), Roberto de la Rosa (penalty - 72’)
Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Vladimir Loroña (Yellow - 3’), Jordi Cortizo (Yellow - 31’); Pachuca - Ismael Sosa (Yellow - 65’)