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Match recap: Club Tijuana 3, Toluca 2

A wild one as Xolos hold out to beat Toluca 3-2.

Club Tijuana v Toluca - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Francisco Vega/Getty Images

The normally defensive-minded Tijuana exploded for three goals in the span of eleven minutes, however nearly squandered the lead and wound up hanging on for a 3-2 win against Toluca. Tijuana wins their second straight while Toluca loses their first of the nascent 2021 season.

To the surprise of few, Toluca started out on the front foot by taking the game to Tijuana, who was content to sit back and wait for a counterattacking opportunity. They got their first in the fourth minute, but the resulting corner kick didn’t lead to a scoring opportunity. They would start to get the better of possession however, methodically moving the ball around in the Toluca end of the field looking for an opening. The first opening came in the 10th minute when Junior Sornoza hit a shot from outside the box that missed the net wide. The second opening however would result in Xolos’ first goal from the run of play this season. Sornoza took a free kick in the 12th and a scrum in the box saw Miguel Sansores head the ball out toward the far corner. Eduardo Tercero got to it and knocked it toward goal but was being pulled down in the box, however Mauro Manotas was crashing the net and smashed the ball in to give Xolos the lead.

Tijuana almost scored immediately after when Manotas hit a shot that Luis García tipped, with the ball hitting the far post before being cleared out of danger. They would then double the lead in the 20th minute when Fidel Martínez got on to a beautiful ball in and knocked it past García.

Xolos wasn’t done though. In the 23rd they’d wind up in the Toluca end again on a counterattack, and this time it was Fidel Martínez with a slick backheel redirection past García for a goal.

David Barbona ripped one wide in the 28th, but then the tide shifted back into Toluca’s favor. The visitors began to retain possession and get good movement in Tijuana’s end, forcing Tijuana back into their defensive shell. Then in the 38th minute disaster struck for the home side when Jonathan Orozco inexplicably waited too long to clear a pass back to him. When he eventually tried to clear it, it was won by Alexis Canelo who teed one up to pull one back.

Both teams had a couple of looks at goal to round out the first half, but nothing serious and the 3-1 scoreline held going into the break. After the half, Toluca once again assumed the role of aggressors, taking the game to Tijuana but not creating many chances at first. They’d break through in the 53rd when Miguel Barbieri put his head onto a corner kick that froze Orozco and drew Toluca within one.

In the 56th Xolos almost tacked on one more on a free kick from distance by Sornoza but García made a fantastic diving save and then got back into position as the shot off of the rebound went high. Tijuana was able to keep the pressure on enough to limit Toluca’s time of possession, parking the bus without parking the bus. The game got testy in the 73rd when Mauro Manotas and Rubens Sambueza got tangled up, earning both players a yellow card after the teams were separated.

Toluca had a great chance in the second minute of stoppage when A Sambueza free kick was knocked on by Paolo Yrizar but Orozco was positioned perfectly to make the stop. Kevin Castañeda had a go from distance that just went over the crossbar in the final moments of stoppage, but it wasn’t to be for Toluca.

Tijuana will have a short turnaround, heading to San Luis Potosí to face Atlético San Luis on Thursday evening, while Toluca returns home to host Mazatlán on Sunday.

Club Tijuana: Jonathan Orozco; Brayan Angulo, Eduardo Tercero, Gonzalo Jara, Vladimir Loroña; Christian Rivera, Junior Sornoza (Luis Gamíz, 88’), David Barbona; Fidel Martínez (Fabián Castillo, 63’), Miguel Sansores (Marcel Ruiz, 63’), Mauro Manotas (Edgar López, 81’)

Toluca: Luis García; Diego Rigonato (Paolo Yrizar, 85’), Jorge Torres Nilo, Miguel Barbieri, Rodrigo Salinas; Rubens Sambueza, Claudio Baeza, José Vázquez, Raúl López; Alexis Canelo, Miguel Estrada (Enrique Triverio, 65’)

Scoring: Club Tijuana - Mauro Manotas (12’), Fidel Martínez (20’), Miguel Sansores (23’); Toluca - Alexis Canelo (36’), Miguel Barbieri (53’)

Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Mauro Manotas (Yellow - 72’), Eduardo Tercero (Yellow - 85’); Toluca - Alexis Canelo (Yellow - 55’), Jorge Torres Nilo (Yellow - 66’), Rubens Sambueza (Yellow - 73’)