Queretaro beat Xolos 1-2 in Tijuana’s first home loss of the season

Credit: Jeremy Collins/ EVT Sports

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Credit: Jeremy Collins/ EVT Sports

The Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles entered Friday night with an opportunity to rise in the standings closer to playoff contention with a win over a close competitor in the standings.

That didn’t happen. Instead, the Xolos lost for the first time at home and in a 1-2 defeat against Queretaro.

The Xolos played a competitive first half dominating in possession but were unable to capitalize on opportunities in the opposing half while the white chickens took advantage of a set piece far from the goal. The play sent a long ball ahead in the air to forward Raul Zuniga, only covered by one defender who allowed him to get an initial touch on the ball for smashing a volley past  Xolos goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez for the 1-0 lead. The Aztec Canines tried to put in an equalizer during stoppage time with a dangerous set piece treated like a corner kick, but no one was able to make a strong play on the ball. 

Only one substitution was made at halftime but did not result in much positive for the Xolos as they were unable to get on the board until very late in the match. 

A poor defensive sequence by the Xolos trying to clear the ball first, passing it to midfielder Fernando Valenzuela. Valenzuela didn’t have good control over the ball and received a hard challenge from former Xolos midfielder Christian Rivera, who passed it to a near teammate. who sent a perfect ball past the Xolos defensive line for Angel Sepulveda to easily put it into the net. That extended the lead to two with 35 minutes left to play. 

The team showed life in the offense for the rest of the second half with many opportunities but couldn’t find the net, and seemed like it wouldn’t. The frustration was felt throughout the stadium, highlighted by boos from the fans and even boiling over to the manager in the 82nd minute. Herrera received a red card for arguing with the officials. 

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The Xolos, though, were able to get on the scoreboard late in the 89th minute, thanks to a strong counterattack. Lucas Rodriguez got the ball and switched the field to his right for a teammate with a lot of open field. Joaquin Montecinos, who came in as a substitute for Braian Romero as an attacking midfielder, got the ball with a lot of green in front of him. Montecinos patiently moved the ball up the field, taking his time before sending a hard right for the Xolos’ first goal of the night. 

For a second, it looked like the Xolos might equalize in the remaining seven minutes of stoppage time, coming hard out of the gate when play resumed taking multiple shots on goal but ultimately could not come back, leaving the final score at 2-0.

Short of three straight wins, the Xolos playoff chances now look even more unlikely. The Xolos play again on April 14 in an away match against bottom-of-the-table Mazatlan F.C. Then, they return to Tijuana on April 21 against Leon, who have played strong all season and are third on the table. 

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