The Tijuana Xolos played their last game in the Copa MX group stage this Tuesday, Feb. 19, at the Estadio Caliente against Pachuca. The Aztec Canines were going into a must-win game and handled the challenge as they defeated Los Tuzos 2-1.
The first half did not have much excitement on the pitch in it, but the over 20 thousand fans that filled the border city fortress kept the atmosphere vibrant. The Xoloitzcuintles opened the scoring in the first minute of the clash as a penalty was awarded to the Border City Dogs after Efrain Orona took down Miller Bolanos in the penalty area.
Gustavo Bou executed the penalty perfectly and gave Club Tijuana the 1-0 lead that would last for most of the half. Pachuca was awarded a penalty of its own and Leonardo Ulloa tied the game for the visitors in the 44th minute.
The second half began with a much quicker tempo to it as both teams seemed invested in the encounter. Young striker Daniel Lopez was subbed out to begin the half for Ariel Nahuelpan and that made an immediate impact in the clash.
Nahuelpan was very involved in the attack and played a role in the Border City Dogs’ second goal of the game. The Argentine striker struck a potent shot off a free kick in the 51st minute and centre-back Diego Braghieri was there to push the ball in the back of the net to give the Xoloitzcuintles a 2-1 lead.
Oscar Pareja’s team was able to hang onto that lead until the final whistle as the Colombian manager made some adjustments to ensure the victory. First, midfielder Luis Chavez came on for midfielder Gustavo Bou in the 75th minute and then centre-back Julian Velazquez replaced Miller Bolanos in the 82nd minute.
The Xolos locked down the game and secured the three points to finish first in Group 1 of the Copa MX with seven points. The border city team is now in the knockout stage of the competition, currently as the seventh seed awaiting a rival for the round of 16.
— Xolos (@xolos_en) February 20, 2019
Xolos Lineup: Carlos Higuera, Omar Mendoza, Luis Martinez, Diego Braghieri, Luis Fuentes, Kevin Balanta, Diego Gonzalez, Jesus Angulo, Gustavo Bou (75’ Luis Chavez), Miller Bolanos (82’ Julian Velazquez), Daniel Lopez (45’ Ariel Nahuelpan)