The Tijuana Xolos played their first and last game in the knockout stage of the 2018 Apertura edition of the Copa MX this Tuesday, Sept. 25. The Aztec Canines were due for a very tough task against Cruz Azul in the round of 16 of the competition at the Estadio Caliente.
The atmosphere at the Mictlan was immense as there were plenty of Cruz Azul fans to rival the local fans. Both managers understood the importance of the match and brought out strong lineups that made for a spectacular display.
Diego Cocca featured players like Gibran Lajud, Julian Velazquez, Ignacio Rivero and Miller Bolanos in his 11 while Pedro Caixinha had Roberto Alvarado, Pablo Aguilar, Edgar Mendez and others in his lineup.
The tough task became immediately even tougher as Eryc Castillo received a direct red card in just the 27th minute of the encounter. The Xolos were down to 10 men but still managed to display a very competitive effort in front of the home crowd.
A goal did come instantly after the red card for Cruz Azul as Edgar Mendez took advantage and found the back of the net in the 34th minute. Young fullback Osciel De La Cruz was beaten by Mendez on the play as the Spanish forward played a vital role in Los Cementeros’ victory.
The Mexico City club then struck again in the 58th minute, this time with a goal by Martin Cauteruccio and hope seemed lost for the border city side. However, just three minutes later, Jose Maduena put the ball into his own net and the former Xolos’ player gave the Xoloitzcuintles hope in the final third of the clash.
The Border City Dogs kept on pushing but failed to find the back of the net in a thrilling end to the duel. There was a foul inside of the box that could have been called a penalty for Xolos, Pedro Caixinha was booted from the match as the clock winded down and Club Tijuana took the loss.
The loss was a hard one to swallow for the Prehistoric Dogs as they did put in a very solid effort at the Mictlan. It was even harder considering that the red card given to Eryc Castillo was very controversial and non-existent to many.
Xolos’ Lineup: Gibran Lajud, Julian Velazquez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Luis Martinez, Osciel De La Cruz (87’ Daniel Lopez), Diego Gonzalez (57’ Fabian Castillo), Diego Rodriguez, Ignacio Rivero (83’ Jesus Angulo), Eryc Castillo, Miller Bolanos, Erick Torres