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Match recap: Cruz Azul 1, Tijuana 1

Cruz Azul was within seconds of making history but an Ivan López goal in the dying seconds snatched a draw for Xolos.

Cruz Azul v Chivas - Torneo Guard1anes 2021 Liga MX Photo by Mauricio Salas/Jam Media/Getty Images

Cruz Azul had one hand on a record but let it slip away on a Ivan López goal in the dying seconds of the match as they drew Tijuana 1-1. Had La Maquina been able to hold on just a little longer, they would have tied Club América with the most points (43) ever in the split season era of Liga MX. Instead they’ll head into the Liguilla with a disappointing draw while Tijuana is eliminated from the postseason.

Cruz Azul had most of the possession early, however Tijuana was able to get a couple of counterattacks deep into Cruz Azul’s end. Neither team threatened much however, with Orbelín Pineda hitting the side netting in the 16th minute perhaps the best of the early chances. Jonathan “Cabecita” Rodríguez had a decent shot in the 33rd minute, but his shot was seen all the way and stopped easily.

In the 38th minute, “Cabecita” Rodríguez drove into the box and Víctor Guzmán stepped on his ankle, immediately drawing a yellow card and a penalty. Referee Adonai Escobedo reviewed the play with VAR and rescinded both the card and penalty call. This seemed to light a bit of a fire under the hosts, who were able to apply some pressure on Tijuana and create chances. As the clock crossed the threshold into stoppage time, José “Shaggy” Martínez hit a nice cross into the box for Santiago Giménez, but his shot went straight into the goalkeeper. Then deeper in stoppage, Elías Hernández hit a shot that was stopped but the rebound went straight to Orbelín Pineda who fired into an empty net to give La Maquina the lead heading into the break.

The second half was rather calm to start. The first good chance came on a Junior Sornoza shot in the 56th minute that Jesús “Chuy” Corona was able to parry out for a corner kick. A minute later “Cabecita” Rodríguez hit the post with a shot before Sornoza had another look in the other end in the 58th minute, but again “Chuy” was there to make the stop. There was a bit of a lull in the chances, with neither team doing much with the ball to create danger. Cruz Azul was very happy to park the bus and only venture into the offensive zone when they had a clear chance. They did create on in the 80th minute and Orbelín Pineda may have had his second of the game were it not for a perfect sliding tackle by Eduardo Tercero to win possession of the ball and clear it out. In the final minutes “Cabecita” once again drove down, lost his mark and hit a shot but it was knocked out of play for a corner.

With the minutes pressing on toward the end, Tijuana was able to draw level when Jordi Cortizo made moves along the line and hit a cross in to Ivan López, who got a free header in the box and knocked it past “Chuy” Corona to get the 1-1 draw.

Cruz Azul will await their Liguilla matchup, while Tijuana is eliminated from postseason play.

Cruz Azul: Jesús Corona; Ignacio Rivero, Julio Domínguez, Juan Escobar (Pablo Aguilar, 45’), José Martínez: Ignacio Rivero (Roberto Alvarado, 45’); Orbelín Pineda, Yoshimar Yotún (Rafael Baca, 71’), Guillermo Fernández; Jonathan Rodríguez, Santiago Giménez (Bryan Angulo, 59’), Elías Hernández (Adrián Aldrete, 59’)

Club Tijuana: Jonathan Orozco; Brayan Angulo, Víctor Guzmán, Eduardo Tercero, Vladimir Loroña; Junior Sornoza (Jordi Cortizo, 60’), Christian Rivero, Esteban Pavez, David Barbona (Jaime Gómez, 45’); Fidel Martínez (Ivan López, 72’), Mauro Manotas (Fabián Castillo, 45’)

Scoring: Cruz Azul - Orbelín Pineda (45+1’); Club Tijuana - Ivan López (90+3’)

Disciplinary: Cruz Azul - Juan Escobar (Yellow - 29’); Club Tijuana - Vladimir Loroña (Yellow - 24’)