The Tijuana Xolos traveled to Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas to face Correcaminos UAT at the Estadio Marte R. Gomez in the Copa Corona MX this Tuesday, February 21. This was the second time the Xolitzcuintles faced the Correcaminos in the competition, the first game being a 2-1 victory for Club Tijuana at the Estadio Caliente.
Miguel Herrera went with an interesting lineup for the match, considering the game was of some importance. Luis Michel started in net, with Juan Carlos Nunez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Hiram Munoz, and Carlos Vargas making up the defense. Juan Carlos Medina, Jorge Ortiz, Amando Moreno, and Matias Pisano made up the midfield. With Juan Martin Lucero and Henry Martin comprising the strike force. The interesting thing about the lineup was ‘Piojo’ giving trust to youngsters like Amando Moreno, Hiram Munoz, and Carlos Vargas, who was making his debut for the top-flight team.. The lone regular starter for the Xolos in Liga MX that was found in this starting 11 was captain, Juan Carlos Valenzuela. Jorge Ortiz and Matias Pisano were, of course, receiving their first start for the Xolos in a competitive match as well.
Matias Pisano was great in the game, providing great attacking options going forward. The Argentine provided the first chance of the game for the Xolos in the 18th minute. Pisano released a powerful shot which went just wide of the Correcaminos’ net.
The second division side then had a pair of opportunities. The first coming in the 27th minute, where Luis Michel leaped and slapped a potent shot over the crossbar, denying the first goal of the game. Two Minutes later, UAT striker, Roberto Saucedo, caused danger and sent a shot just wide left of the Canine’s net.
Matias Pisano caused more problems for the Correcaminos’ defense in the 37th minute of the match sending a dangerous cross into the opposition’s penalty area, but Juan Martin Lucero could not get to the cross in time. This has been seen throughout the Xolos’ season, not only by Lucero, but by other players as well. This game did showcase that Club Tijuana must be more clinical going forward.
The halftime whistle blew with the score being 0-0 and the Aztec Canines wasting many opportunities. The second half of the game started very slow. The Xolos were not the clear dominant team in the game, with both teams displaying a hard-fought encounter. Miguel Herrera knew a change needed to be made.
That change came in the 64th minute, when Victor Malcorra came on for youngster Amando Moreno. Malcorra immediately improved the Xolos’ outlook, providing the creativity he does in the midfield. First in the 67th minute of the game, the 5-foot-5 man provided a cross that almost resulted in goal for Juan Martin Lucero. Lucero collided with Correcaminos’ goalkeeper, David Rambo Becker, and the goal was not allowed and marked as a foul for the Xolos’ player. Malcorra came close to scoring in the 72nd minute of the game. The opportunity came via a free kick that landed in the Correcaminos’ goalkeeper’s hands after an unlucky deflection. In the 76th minute of the match ‘Piojo’ made two more substitutions to try to add more attack for the team.
Joe Corona would come on for Juan Carlos Medina and Aviles Hurtado would replace Juan Martin Lucero. Overall, Medina was solid in the midfield, but Lucero did not provide much in attack, wasting a few key opportunities. Aviles Hurtado immediately caused problems for the second division side’s defense. First in the 78th minute, where the Colombian forward released a potent strike that would go wide right of David Rambo Becker’s net.
A couple of minutes later, Hurtado provided a goal for the border-city side that was unfortunately disallowed due to an off-side call. The score would remain 0-0 after 80 minutes of play.
The lone goal of the hard-fought game would finally come in the 83rd minute. Aviles Hurtado collided with a Correcaminos’ player around the half-moon of the penalty area. The deflection off the collision would land the sphere at Victor Malcorra’s feet. The Argentine midfielder would thrust forward and release a shot that would be stopped by goalkeeper David Rambo Becker. The ball landed to the right of the keeper where Henry Martin pushed the ball into the net in between two of the Correcaminos’ defenders.
A string of shots that would go high over the crossbar came in the dying minutes of the match, first by Aviles Hurtado in the 85th minute, then a couple more by Correcaminos UAT players.
The 89th minute of the game presented a controversial play. Correcaminos’ Sergio Rosas attempted to cross the ball into the Xolos’ penalty area but Victor Malcorra deflected the ball out of play. The controversial issue here is that it appeared as though Malcorra utilized his arm inside the penalty area to deflect the ball. There was no hand ball called, although it appears like the Xolos were pardoned a penalty by the referee.
The game ended with the Xolitzcuintles of Club Tijuana taking the 1-0 victory and the three points. The Xolos came home as the first place team in group 1 of the Copa MX competition. The victory was not easy for Miguel Herrera’s side with many wasted opportunities by both sides that could have affected the game. The Xolos must now concentrate on a tough home game coming up in the Liga MX against Monterrey, who are in fourth place in the league just behind the Xolos in third. Fuerza Tijuas!