The Tijuana Xolos played their sixth game in the Liga MX Apertura 2017 Tuesday, Aug.22.
The border city side traveled to Queretaro to play Queretaro at the Estadio Corregidora in a game that could go either way.
Club Tijuana had been incredibly underwhelming in the first four rounds of play in the Apertura 2017, but was coming off an impressive 2-0 victory against Santos Laguna at home. Queretaro was going into this game as a very inconsistent team that has no identity in the league.
It was unclear if the Xolos would keep up the form they displayed against Santos Laguna and there were even more question marks surrounding Queretaro. Eduardo Coudet went with the same lineup that was presented against Santos Laguna, with one modification. The formation stayed the same as the 5-3-2 that worked wonders for the Aztec Canines against Los Guerreros last Friday at the Estadio Caliente. Gibran Lajud was in net, with Juan Carlos Nunez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Alejandro Donatti, Emmanuel Aguilera, and Damian Perez making up the back line. The midfield trio consisted of Luis Chavez, Ignacio Malcorra, and Damian Musto, while Luis Angel Mendoza partnered with Gustavo Bou in the attack. The only change was Juan Carlos Nunez playing in the right-wing-back slot for Matias Aguirregaray, who was suffering from an injury. If the team played like it did against Santos Laguna, the win was almost guaranteed.
The first 45 minutes of the game were very exciting as both teams had plenty of chances throughout the first half of play. The Xolos looked like the more structured side, but the game did seem very open to any team. The away team struck in the 30th minute of the encounter as Luis Angel Mendoza opened the score at the Estadio Corregidora. Luis Chavez struck the sphere from far beyond the half moon and “Quick” Mendoza caused a deflection inside of the penalty area that found its way to the back of Tiago Volpi’s net. The goal was massive as the game still looked like it could go either way, and a minute later Damian Perez made it clear that the Xolos were the dominant team in the encounter. Luis Angel Mendoza was again key in the scoring play as the Mexican forward applied pressure to Queretaro’s Alexis Perez that made him lose balance and the ball. Ignacio Malcorra then took control of the ball and made a calm and collected pass to Damian Perez, who easily put the ball past the home team’s net to give Los Xolos the 2-0 advantage. The first 45 minutes ended with Eduardo Coudet’s side having the 2-0 lead and the control of the game heading into the second half. Queretaro was not playing badly and had a couple of clear opportunities, but was not clinical enough to challenge Club Tijuana.
As the second half began, the Xoloitzcuintles had control of the game and the back line seemed impenetrable. Coudet’s side did have less possession, but was not allowing Los Gallos Blancos to do much with the ball. Club Tijuana was opting to sit back, and suffered the consequences in the 59th minute of the game. 21-year-old Jordi Cortizo released a potent strike from range that Gibran Lajud was helpless against. The game was now much more interesting at 2-1 and still seemed like it could go either way. A major turning point in the game came in the 64th minute as referee Jorge Isaac Romo extinguished any hope that Queretaro had of getting a result from the game by giving a red card to Yerson Candelo. The Colombian had been one of Queretaro’s most dangerous players in the attack and was now out of the game. Immediately after the red card, Coudet pushed all his men forward and really threw the kitchen sink at Jaime Lozano’s team. Joe Corona replaced Luis Chavez in the 67th minute for the Xolos’ first substitution of the game. Minutes after the substitution, Gustavo Bou kept his hot streak going with his third goal in three consecutive Liga MX games.
Damian Perez launched a long pass from about the half way line that found Gustavo Bou, who showcased his speed, dribbling, and finishing ability. Bou outran and dribbled past Queretaro’s captain Miguel Martinez, then struck the ball past Martinez and goalkeeper Tiago Volpi for his third of the season and the Xolos third of the night. From there the game was done and dusted as the Xolos had a substantial lead and inclusively had a man advantage over Queretaro. “Chacho” Coudet made a couple of insignificant changes that had no real impact on the game. Enzo Kalinski and Matias Pisano came on and received a few minutes on the pitch, replacing Damian Musto and Luis Angel Mendoza. Club Tijuana was the dominant team after the 90 minutes with 52 percent possession over Queretaro’s 48 percent, and had 19 shots against Queretaro’s 9. The win was another solid victory thanks to the new 5-3-2 formation that has allowed the border city team to play Coudet’s “dynamic, intense, offensive” style of play. The back line was rigid even with Matias Aguirregaray’s absence and the midfield had its best performance under Eduardo Coudet, really taking control of the game. The Xolos will not take a break as they will host Pachuca, who is coming off a 4-1 win against Veracruz this Friday, Aug. 25 at the Estadio Caliente.