The Tijuana Xolos played their fourth match of the Liga MX Clausura 2018 at the Estadio Caliente on Friday against Puebla. Club Tijuana was undefeated going into this match while Puebla had two wins from three games to start the new season. The game was one that the Aztec Canines should be winning at home and they did exactly that with a dominant 2-0 win. The first goal of the match came very early on, just 10 minutes into the game, and was a very bizarre play that did not look like the most coordinated display.
Ignacio Malcorra crossed the ball into the box, then Gustavo Bou completely struck out with an attempt to put the ball in the back of the net. The ball ended up finding Ignacio Rivero just inside of the penalty area, and the Uruguayan gave a very odd-looking pass that somehow found Bou, and this time the Argentine did put the ball in the back of the net. Club Tijuana really seemed to control the match despite having much less possession throughout the encounter. The Xolos were very aggressive and used their possession to attack Puebla without mercy with a total of 20 shots in the game. Pablo Aguilar had a header that went just above Puebla’s net, while Juan Martin Lucero and Gustavo Bou both had shots that were denied by the post throughout the match.
The second goal came in the 71st minute, as Ignacio Malcorra came speeding through the left flank and provided a pinpoint cross that found Juan Martin Lucero in front of Puebla keeper Moises Munoz. Lucero just had to push the ball in with the momentum that carried him from his sprint into the box. This was the best display by the Xolos this season and a very dominant display despite only having 37 percent possession in the match.
Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza, Pablo Aguilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Damian Perez, Damian Musto, Ignacio Rivero, Luis Chavez, Ignacio Malcorra, Juan Martin Lucero, Gustavo Bou
Defining Moment: Second Goal
Puebla was not playing horribly and was still in the game up until the second goal of the match by Juan Martin Lucero. La Franja was playing its possession-based game, but could not find enough spaces to generate many scoring opportunities. The defining moment of the match was that second goal, because up until that point, Puebla was very much alive in the encounter. It seemed that at any moment a quick break by Francisco Acuna or Omar Fernandez could generate a goal for Enrique Meza’s side, but that goal by Lucero secured the three points for Club Tijuana in this game.
Man of The Match: Ignacio Malcorra
It had been a while since Ignacio Malcorra really shone like he did in Friday night’s game. The Argentine had been shining this season because of his new bright hairstyle, but had not really put up any noteworthy performances. Malcorra was key in the first goal by providing the pass that found Ignacio Rivero inside of the area, then provided the assist to Juan Martin Lucero in the second goal. The Argentine midfielder also had a shot that was blocked by Moises Munoz in the 63rd minute of the match. Obviously, Gustavo Bou and Juan Lucero also had very solid games along with Luis Chavez, who provided a very solid effort in the midfield.
Main Talking Point: Aggressive Play Style
The Tijuana Xolos have still not allowed a goal this season after four games, which is a talking point in its own right. Puebla goalkeeper Moises Munoz said after the match, “Their defensive work was great and we could not find a way to penetrate their defense”. But what was especially surprising in this match was how aggressive Diego Cocca was throughout the entirety of the game. The Argentine manager even made some attack-minded substitutions by bringing in Alejandro Guido, Miler Bolanos, and Luis Angel Mendoza. The formation did switch around throughout the match, a 4-1-3-2 seemed to be the formation that stuck for most of the encounter. Despite being aggressive, the team still had order and controlled the match. This is the style of play that must be played to get these key results at home this season. Club Tijuana is now at eight points, is still undefeated, still has yet to concede a goal, and looks on track to have a successful Clausura 2018.