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Club América start Clausura 2024 with win at Tijuana despite missing key players

The game looked headed for a scoreless draw until everything changed in the 89th minute.


Club América defeated Tijuana on the road last night even while missing a big chunk of starters. You can call them the ‘B’ team, ‘C’ team, or even the ‘D’ team, but the Águilas showed they can beat anyone with any group of players on the field. Xolos may have had control of the game, but their countless missed chances came back to haunt them as they fell 2-0 at home to start the season.

Tijuana got the ball rolling a few minutes into the game as captain Christian Rivera took the first shot towards goal. A few minutes later, in the 10th minute, Xolos had another opportunity, but Kevin Castañeda skied his shot. Two minutes later, Xolos had another opportunity that Luis Angel Malagon was able to collect without issue. Then, in the 14th minute, Tijuana had another chance to score, but no one in the box was able to get their head on the ball. Then in the 22nd minute, the funniest moment of the game occured when Emilio Lara attempted a shot, but it went horribly and the stadium DJ then played the titanic song after the attempt. The Estadio Caliente DJ has been known to play the best songs during the best moments during games. Whether it’s during the men’s or women’s game, the DJ never disappoints with his song selections. Never change Liga MX!

América had their first shot on goal when Salvador Reyes’ shot was denied. During the offseason, it had been rumored Reyes was heading to Necaxa, but in the end Jardine had him stay. In the 34th minute, the Águilas had another chance at goal, but Ramon Juarez could not get his header set in the right direction. The rest of the half went by with Xolos having chances to score, but failed to get the ball past Malagon.

Tijuana started the second half quickly as they had their first attempt of the half not even a minute in after Castañeda’s shot was once again denied by Malagon. Not only did Malagon block the first attempt, but since he wasn’t able to grab onto the ball, he slapped it out of bounds before any Xolos players was able to get to the rebound. América had their first chance of the half as Illian Hernandez tried to get into the box, but he was stopped and as he went to get the rebound, he clashed with goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez and Nicolas Diaz. Rodriguez took the worst of the clash and for a moment it looked as if he was going to come off, but he was cleared by the medical staff as okay to continue.

In the 60th minute, Xolos had another chance as Carlos ‘Charly’ Gonzalez got his head on the ball, but Malagon was once again there to make the save. If it weren’t for Malagon, the ball would have for sure gone into the goal. That’s how it was for the rest of the night as the home team had multiple chances to score, but their bad finishing or Malagon got in the way. He for sure was the MVP of the game for all his incredible saves. Then, just as it appeared the scoreless draw was inevitable, the visitors opened up the scoring.

In the 89th minute, ‘Chava’ Reyes changed the game for the Águilas and scored an unstoppable goal. The Tijuana defense was able to hang on for 88 minutes until Reyes showed up. Then, four minutes into stoppage time and América buried the dagger even further.

Once again it was Reyes who scored to double the lead within a few minutes. Tijuana were the best team of the two, but they could not convert when it mattered most. They wasted their chances and it came to bite them in the end.

André Jardine took a big chance by fielding a lot of youngsters, but in the end it paid off. His refusal to allow Salvador Reyes to be traded to Necaxa also paid off and now they’ll look towards week 2 as they prepare to face Querétaro at home. Meanwhile, Tijuana will travel to Guadalajara to face Atlas. This is Miguel Herrera’s third season with Xolos and he will have to find a way to get the team to start winning and have a successful season or he might not be the head coach for much longer.