It took 73 minutes for Club América to find the back of the net, and when they finally did, they found it two more times for a total of three goals. Tijuana held on as long as they could, which they did well even while they were down to 10 players, but substitutions in the 68th minute made all the difference. This win keeps América in first place with 39 points, 10 clear of second place Tigres who will face off against América in the last game of the regular season.
The action started immediately as America had their first chance of the game within 40 seconds, but Alejandro Zendejas was unable to control the ball to get the shot off. Tijuana had their opportunity a few moments later, but they were unable to get a shot off either. Zendejas then had another opportunity, but he ran out of space before he could get a cross in and the ball went out for a goal kick. A couple of minutes later, Carlos Gonzalez attempted his own shot, but Oscar Jimenez was there to stop it. His save calmed fans who haven’t shown much faith in the second string goalkeeper after his performance last season that got him benched. Saturday was going to be a big test for him. After 31 minutes of going back and forth, it seemed as though América would open the scoring as Julian Quiñones had three separate opportunities to score, but the Xolos defense was there to make all three stops. The rest of the half went back and forth and ended with no goals from either side.
América started the second half with their foot on the peddle as Miguel Layun sent a ball into the box that Henry Martin just could not get his head on. A few minutes later, Martin had a clearer chance at goal, but his shot was just wide of goal. A few minutes later, Richard Sanchez attempted his own shot that goalkeeper Jose Rodriguez was able to punch out for a corner. Rodriguez found himself very busy this game, but did a great job all night long. It was then 10 minutes later when things went bad for Xolos. Kevin Balanta had fouled Henry Martin and was given his second yellow of the night and sent off. This call was controversial, not because of the foul, but because it was not card worthy. Martin did well in exaggerating the foul and Tijuana found themselves down to 10 players. Head coach Miguel ‘El Piojo’ Herrera, former Club América head coach, then made a tactical decision when he subbed out midfielder Fernando Madrigal for defender Rodrigo Parra. This decision seemed to pay off for at least 10 minutes untiñ América made three changes that Tijuana were just not able to handle. The goals finally came for America in the 73rd minute.
This goal came from an assist from Henry Martin who recorded his ninth of the season with this goal. It was then five minutes later where América would score once again.
Alvaro Fidalgo started the action in the midfield as he passed the ball over to Kevin Alvarez who got the cross off to Jonathan ‘Cabecita’ Rodriguez who doubled the lead. Alvarez has made a huge impact since his arrival earlier in the season, quickly becoming a critical piece in the backline. It was then a few minutes later when América made their third and final goal of the night.
América were once again in Tijuana’s area as Alejandro Zendejas got the ball off to Richard Sanchez who passed it off to Alvaro Fidalgo who put the final nail in the coffin. This goal was Fidalgo’s first goal of the season. Even after this goal, América continued to push for another goal as Tijuana tried to hold on for another few minutes. They were able to do so, but it was a bad night for a team that was able to hold their own against a stacked América side.
Tijuana had everything to draw or even defeat América, but the red card that wasn’t a card against Balanta was what ultimately doomed them. Now Tijuana will finish off the regular season at home against Pachuca. They still have a chance to stay in sixth place, but it’s up to themselves and hoping Pumas and San Luis don’t win this week. Club América will finish out the regular season on the road against Tigres and even if they were to lose, they would still finish in first.