The Tijuana Xolos played the first-leg of their quarterfinal matchup against Monarcas Morelia this Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the Estadio Caliente. The Aztec Canines were heading into this game as the favorites with the home-field advantage in the first leg.
The Xoloitzcuintles were able to use this home-field advantage as Club Tijuana defeated Monarcas Morelia 3-1. Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez started the scoring in the 19th minute of the game as the Argentine defender scored off a header from a free-kick.
It was Gonzalez’s first goal with the Xolos since coming over from Atlanta United this past offseason. The first half ended in Tijuana’s favor as the Border City Dogs were the better team in the first half by far with much more scoring opportunities than Monarcas Morelia.
The second half died down in momentum for the first 15 minutes of play, but then Monarcas Morelia tied it 17 minutes into the half in the 62nd minute. A cross into the penalty box found Martin Rodriguez completely unmarked as the Chilean winger fired the sphere into the back of the net.
The goal was the result of poor defending by the Xolos as the game was all tied up. However, the Xoloitzcuintles were able to bring it back in the 78th minute as Bryan Colula scored off a header from a corner kick.
Like Gonzalez-Pirez, this was Colula’s first goal with Club Tijuana as the Xolos took the 2-1 lead. The border city side was able to sneak one more goal out of the game in the 83rd minute as a penalty was awarded to the Xolos. Erick Torres executed it perfectly to seal the 3-1 scoreline.
This was a tremendous victory for the Xoloitzcuintles as Monarcas Morelia must win by two goals to send the series to a penalty shootout or win by three goals or more to take the series in the second leg.
Club Tijuana will visit Monarcas Morelia this Friday for a Liga MX game then will yet again play Morelia on Tuesday, Feb.18, for the second leg of this series.
Xolos Lineup: Carlos Higuera, Jordan Silva, Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez, Bryan Colula, Aldo Cruz, Luis Gamiz, Christian Rivera (71′ Ignacio Rivero), Alexis Castro, Cesar Falleti (58′ Miller Bolanos), Mauro Lainez, Erick Torres (84′ Bryan Angulo)