The Tijuana Xolos played their last game of the Liga MX 2018 Apertura season this Friday, Nov. 23 against Puebla at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc. There was not much on the line heading into the game and that was demonstrated on the pitch and in the stands as not many people showed up to the beautiful stadium that can hold more than 50 thousand spectators.
However, the atmosphere at the Cuauhtemoc was solid as the home crowd kept it lively with drums, trumpets and cheers while a decent amount of Xolos’ fans also made the trip down south. There was even a closed off area for Club Tijuana’s supporters group “La Masakr3” along with several red and black jerseys around the fortress.
Puebla looked like the much better team in the first half with an astonishing 70-percent possession and six total shots as well. However, Los Camoteros could not take advantage of this dominance as they squandered plenty of scoring opportunities. Fans were not impressed with the lackluster first half at the Estadio Cuauhtemoc and jeered and booed after the end of it.
The second half was much more balanced in terms of possession, mostly because Puebla’s Christian Tabo picked up a red card in the 56th minute. The expulsion was controversial, to say the least as Tabo clashed with Omar Mendoza and clearly did not have any intent on the foul.
The Aztec Canines did try and take advantage of the extra man and did have more possession throughout the second half along with six total shots. Fabian Castillo was ineffective in this match and was replaced by youngster Daniel Lopez in the 65th minute, making his season debut. Franky Oviedo then brought on Jesus Angulo in the 70th minute and Juan Martin Lucero in the 80th minute, but neither player could impact the scoreboard.
The game finished in a lackluster scoreless draw between two teams that missed out on the playoffs and had nothing to play for in the first place. The few positives included Gibran Lajud picking up a clean sheet to finish off the season and the young players that received minutes like Daniel Lopez, Antonio Nava and Jesus Angulo. Other than that, the game was highly disappointing for both sets of fans as heavy jeering and boos were heard after the final whistle.
— Francisco Velasco (@FranciscoEfV) November 24, 2018
The Xoloitzcuintles finished the season with just 17 points, currently 14th place, but could still finish as low as 16th place. Now it is time for the Xolos to focus on next year, where Oscar Pareja is likely to take the reigns of the team as it seems highly unlikely that Franky Oviedo will stay on. Oviedo even hinted at this and said that he is more focused on Club Tijuana’s U-20 team that is currently in the quarterfinals of the Liga MX U-20 competition.
Xolos’ Starting Lineup: Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza, Julian Velazquez, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Luis Fuentes, Ignacio Rivero, Diego Rodriguez, Luis Chavez, Antonio Nava (70’ Jesus Angulo) Fabian Castillo (65’ Daniel Lopez), Eryc Castillo (80’ Juan Martin Lucero)