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Match recap: Club Tijuana 2, León 0

Xolos and León are known for their strange endings, and this one was no different.

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

Tijuana and León always seem to find controversy when they play, and tonight was no different. A VAR review in the 97th minute could have nullified a goal for Xolos and awarded a game-tying penalty to León, but instead confirmed a 2-0 win for the home side.

Tijuana took the game to León, and their aggressive style paid off in the fifth minute when Fidel Martínez was played down the line, drawing out goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco. Martínez flicked the ball back and toward the center where Mauro Manotas was waiting, heading the ball past an out of position Blanco.

Less than a minute later Xolos almost got a second when David Barbona was played in and hit a one-time shot that just missed the corner of the net by inches. León got their first chance in the 10th minute when Joel Campbell was played in and hit a shot, but it went straight to Jonathan Orozco.

The quickness of the turf made for some lightning fast counterattacks from Tijuana, and their speed of play and control of the ball on the surface seemed to tie León in knots at points. Luckily for the visitors, they weren’t able to create too many chances on net. In fairness, León couldn’t get much going either, with their next best chance being a hopeful volley from Ángel Mena in the 33rd minute that went well high and wide.

León found their footing and in the 41st had a decent chance when Campbell made a good run down the right and hit a cross in to Víctor Dávila, however it was behind him and the ball was scrambled away to safety.

León remained on the offensive in the second half, retaining possession early and crating good opportunities. In the 52nd, Campbell played a good ball in to Mena, but his shot was tipped wide of the net. Ten minutes later León had another good chance when Mena crashed the net on a ball in, but Orozco was able to get to it first, sending Mena flying. Both players were ok and exchanged a fist-bump after the play to confirm there were no hard feelings.

The game however largely started to devolve into strategic fouls and less-than-strategic fouls as legs grew heavy. León still maintained an edge in possession and momentum, but it had waned from the opening minutes of the half. In the 81st, Miguel Sansores went in high and hard on Stiven Barreiro and earned himself a red card just 12 minutes into his shift. León almost capitalized in the 87th when Emannuel Gigliotti smashed a shot directly into the crossbar.

León ratcheted up the pressure into stoppage, but Xolos were able to hang on and in the dying moments of the match cleared out a ball to Fabián Castillo, who raced up the field. Goalkeeper Alfonso Blanco had come way off of his line and was caught in the middle of nowhere. He made a last-ditch effort to stop Castillo, who simply hurdled him and fired the ball into the empty net to put a what looked like a surefire exclamation point on a good win against a tough rival. Referee Jorge Pérez however went to VAR and watched a replay of the corner kick that started the whole play, looking at whether the ball hit Jordi Cortizo’s arm. It appeared that it hit the back of the head of the León player before hitting Cortizo’s arm, and Pérez didn’t see enough to call a penalty and overturn Castillo’s goal. 100 minutes into the match, Pérez blew the whistle and Tijuana had captured all three points on the evening.

Xolos will head to Monterrey to take on Tigres on Sunday, February 21 while León will go to CU to take on Pumas, also on Sunday, February 21.

Club Tijuana: Jonathan Orozco; Vladimir Loroña (Jaime Gómez, 76’), Víctor Guzmán, Julián Velázquez, Brayan Angulo; David Barbona (Marcel Ruiz, 84’), Esteban Pavez, Christian Rivera, Junior Sornoza (Fabián Castillo, 76’); Mauro Manotas (Miguel Sansores, 69’), Fidel Martínez (Jordi Cartizo, 69’)

León: Alfonso Blanco; Osvaldo Rodríguez, Andrés Mosquera, Stiven Barreiro, José Ramírez (Santiago Colombatto, 76’); Luis Montes, Iván Rodríguez (Yairo Moreno, 61’); Jean Menenses, Víctor Dávila (Fernando Navarro, 67’), Ángel Mena; Joel Campbell (Emmanuel Gigliotti, 76’)

Scoring: Club Tijuana - Mauro Manotas (5’), Fabián Castillo (90+4’); León - None

Disciplinary: Club Tijuana - Brayan Angulo (Yellow - 19’), Julián Velázquez (Yellow - 55’), Víctor Guzmán (Yellow - 67’), Miguel Sansores (Red - 81’); León - Santiago Colombatto (Yellow - 84’), Yairo Moreno (Yellow - 90’)