The Tijuana Xolos played their third match of the Liga MX Clausura 2018 season on Saturday at the Estadio BBVA Bancomer in Monterrey.
It seemed like Club Tijuana had no chance of coming away with a favorable result from this game, facing the runners-up of the Apertura 2017 season, Monterrey.
Diego Cocca and the Aztec Canines prevailed and came away with a 0-0 result in La Sultana. There was a bit of luck involved in the result, but it was phenomenal for the border city side to get a point against one of the best teams in the Liga MX.
Monterrey: Juan Pablo Carrizo, Stefan Medina, Cesar Montes, Jose Maria Basanta, Leonel Vangioni, Alfonso Gonzalez, Jonathan Gonzalez, Celso Ortiz, Dorlan Pabon, Aviles Hurtado, Rogelio Funes Mori
Xolos: Gibran Lajud, Michael Orozco, Pablo Aguilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Damian Perez, Damian Musto, Ignacio Rivero, Luis Chavez, Ignacio Malcorra, Juan Iturbe, Juan Martin Lucero
The main thing to note from the Xolos’ lineup was the absence of Gustavo Bou, who suffered an injury during the week. Uruguayan midfielder Ignacio Rivero also made his Liga MX debut in this match, coming over from Argentine club Defensa y Justicia.
The defining moment of this match was a penalty for Monterrey in the 75th minute of the encounter. Aviles Hurtado dove inside of the penalty area to try and deceive the referee and get his team a penalty. The flop worked, but Hurtado missed the penalty wide and to the left of Gibran Lajud’s net, failing his team just like in the Apertura 2017 Liga MX final.
Hurtado has been spectacular for Monterrey since his arrival last season, but has failed his team in these crucial moments. The fans started to boo the Colombian forward after his missed penalty despite him being one of the best players on the team. Gibran Lajud played a huge role in Hurtado’s missed penalty as he picked up the ball after the 30-year-old had already placed the ball on the penalty spot. This is actually not allowed, and Lajud should have received a yellow card. This had to have thrown Hurtado off just before taking the decisive penalty shot that would help the border city side come away with a point from the match.
— Francisco Velasco (@FranciscoEfV) January 21, 2018
Man of The Match: Pablo Aguilar
The whole Xolos’ defense was spectacular, so it was hard to just pick out one player, but the club captain Pablo Aguilar had to be the standout. The Paraguayan centre-back finished the game with 16 clearances, two blocked shots, two tackles, and an interception. Juan Carlos Valenzuela deserves an honorable mention as he had nine clearances, two blocked shots, and two interceptions. Club Tijuana has still yet to concede a goal in this Clausura 2018 as Gibran Lajud and the back line has carried the team after the first three games.
Main Talking Point: The Point
The actual product on the field has not been good this season for the Tijuana Xolos, and was not good in this game. Diego Cocca implements a pragmatic, unattractive style of play, but it has been able to succeed this year with this group of players. Something that this team does have is order, which was not present under the leadership of Eduardo Coudet. This point was huge against Los Rayados in Monterrey and could be a result that leads the Xolos to the playoffs at the end of the regular season.