The scoreline doesn’t ever lie, but sometimes it can distort the truth. Tijuana’s 1-0 victory won’t look impressive in the box score, but Xolos played their first complete 90 minute soccer match in recent memory and easily dispatched Puebla.
Tijuana started out playing with intensity, pressing from the opening whistle. Puebla looked off-guard and out of step early on, turning the ball over often. Tijuana’s first good chance of the match came in the eighth minute when a corner kick was headed just over Nicolás Vikonis’ net. While Puebla was able to make a few trips down toward the Xolos’ end of the field, large swaths of the first half were spent with Tijuana bearing down on goal. In the 28th minute Mauro Lainez made a great play, cutting in from the right wing and unleashing a shot that just missed the top far corner of the net.
Xolos would finally break through in the 33rd minute when Fabián Castillo played it forward for Edgar López. His shot was blocked by Vikonis, but Bryan Angulo crashed the net and was rewarded with an easy tap-in. A brief VAR review followed to check that López was onside and the goal stood.
Puebla had an opportunity to equalize in the 38th minute when a corner kick went to the feet of Pablo González, but his shot was blocked by Diego Braghieri and knocked out of danger. Xolos kept pressing and making things very difficult for Puebla and took the one goal lead to the locker room at the half.
The second half started out much the same as the first had ended, with Tijuana continuing to press and Puebla not looking sure how to react. Puebla did start committing more fouls, with Santiago Ormeño picking up the game’s first yellow card in the 50th minute. In the 60th minute, Omar Fernández hit a shot through traffic that Jonathan Orozco made a solid save on. Tijuana played smart, efficient soccer; looking for a second goal while being mindful not to give away possession cheaply or get caught with too many players in front of the ball.
In the 83rd Xolos had a chance to takc on the insurance goal when Fabián Castillo made a great run and lost his defender, but his shot was stopped by Vikonis. The rebound went to Kevin Balanta, but his shot on the volley went well high. Then in the 85th Bryan Angulo was in on goal and Vikonis came out and did a sliding tackle, catching Angulo ever so slightly. Vikonis was shown a straight red card for a denial of a goalscoring opportunity, and Brayan Angulo was forced to don the goalkeeper jersey and gloves for the remaining time.
In stoppage Omar Fernández hit a free kick that Javier Salas got his head on, but Orozco was positioned correctly and stopped the shot. Alan Acosta picked up a red card, and Puebla finished the match with nine players.
Tijuana will head to CU to face Pumas next Sunday at noon local time, while Puebla returns home to host Toluca next Friday night.
Club Tijuana: Jonathan Orozco; Miguel Barbieri (Jordan Silva, 70’), Jorge Aguilar, Victor Guzmán; Christian Rivera, Marcel Ruiz (Luis Gamiz, 63’), Mauro Lainez, Jordi Cardozo (Jordan Rezabala, 63’), Edgar López (Jaime Gómez, 62’); Fabián Castillo (Gerson Vázquez, 90+3’), Bryan Angulo
Puebla F.C.: Nicolás Vikonis; Brayan Angulo, Maximiliano Perg, Néstor Vidrio, George Corral (Maximiliano Araujo, 70’); Javier Salas, Pablo González (Daniel Aguilar, 58’), Israel Reyes (Alan Acosta, 58’), Salvador Reyes (Bernardo Cuesta, 79’); Santiago Ormeño (Eduardo Herrera, 79’), Omar Fernández
Scoring: Club Tijuana - Bryan Angulo (32’); Puebla F.C. - None
Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Christian Rivera (Yellow - 68’); Puebla F.C. - Santiago Ormeño (Yellow - 50’), Alan Acosta (Yellow, 65’, Red - 90+1’), Nicolás Vikonis (Red - 85’)