The Copa MX knockout round began this Tuesday, Feb. 26, as the Tijuana Xolos hosted Alebrijes de Oaxaca at the Estadio Caliente in the round of 16. The match was set to be a very intense and hard-fought clash and it did not disappoint as the intensity was felt at the Mictlan.
Oscar Pareja used an alternate lineup that featured youngsters like Carlos Higuera and Daniel Lopez as well as veterans like Julian Velazquez and Joe Corona. Most of the players in Pareja’s lineup were not key starters, but the Colombian manager did use Miller Bolanos and Gustavo Bou in the second half.
The Xoloitzcuintles started off the scoring early with a goal by Luis Chavez in the ninth minute. The Mexican midfielder released a very powerful shot from beyond the half-moon that found the back of the net as the Estadio Caliente burst in cheers.
However, that lead did not last as Alebrijes de Oaxaca tied up the score in the 16th minute of the encounter. Defender Rodrigo Noya blasted a ball towards the Xolos’ penalty area and Vladimir Moragrega was there to head it in the back of the net. The play was also an unfortunate error by young Xolos’ goalkeeper Carlos Higuera as he came out too late to catch the sphere.
Right-back Omar Mendoza picked up an injury just 37 minutes into the match and Ignacio Rivero had to replace him. Pareja’s other substitutions came in the second half as Miller Bolanos and Gustavo Bou came on to try and spark the offense.
The score remained the same for the remainder of the game as Club Tijuana clearly seemed like the more dominant team. Some of the clearer chances of the match for the Aztec Canines came early in the second half as Luis Chavez smashed the ball on the crossbar in the 51st minute. Then, 18-year-old striker Daniel Lopez put the wall wide on a one-on-one with Oaxaca’s goalkeeper Luis Robles.
The game ended 1-1 in regulation time and the intensity rose at the Estadio Caliente as the ticket to the Copa MX quarterfinals would be decided in a penalty shootout. Club Tijuana would end up winning the shootout and winning that coveted spot in the Copa MX quarterfinals.
— Xolos (@xolos_en) February 27, 2019
The Xolos would win 4-3 and young goalkeeper Carlos Higuera would be the hero of the clash as he saved a penalty taken by Rodrigo Noya. Gustavo Bou would score the winning penalty for the Border City Dogs as the Mictlan would erupt in cheers at the end of the clash.
The Xolos will now face Monarcas Morelia away from home in the quarterfinals of the Copa MX in what could be a very tough game for a ticket in the semifinals.