Tijuana Xolos fall 2-1 against Chivas in Miguel Herrera’s first game back as manager

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Xolos vs Chivas Clausura 2023
Credit: Xolos

Coming off their first win of the season, the Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles were unable to build on their momentum in manager Miguel Herrera’s return to the border city club. The Xolos were unable to leave Guadalajara with any points thanks to two costly penalties in a 2-1 loss to Chivas. 

The game was marked by questionable calls by the referee against both teams and got physically involved in the game, obstructing a pass and players multiple times in the match. 

Tijuana got off to a quick start and nearly scored in the second minute of the match with a great run by Lucas Rodriguez, who sent a pass out to Alexis Canelo, who crossed it back to him in the center of the box, but Rodriguez gave a hard touch sending it just left of the post. 

Tijuana played well the first half, maintaining control over the pace of the game leading to the team’s first non-own goal in two matches in the 26th minute. The goal came off a free-kick that sent the ball away from the center of the box that was headed away toward an open Nicolas Diaz, who sent a cross to the center of the box that was weakly tapped out by Chivas forward Daniel Rios right in front of midfielder Federico Lertora who sent a strong ball in for the 1-0 lead. 

The Xoloitzcuintles continued to play well until the 38th minute a questionable penalty was awarded to Chivas when Tijuana’s captain, Lisandro Lopez, cleared the ball from out of the box and, on the follow-through of the kick, hit Ronaldo Cisneros in the shin. After lots of consternation by the referee speaking with VAR officials, the penalty was confirmed. 

Chivas midfielder Victor Guzman took the penalty and shot it perfectly with a strong strike to the left side of the goal. The Tijuana goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez guessed wrong, diving in the opposite direction, equalizing the score at 1-1 just before halftime. 

To start the second half, Chivas came strong out of the gate with multiple set pieces close to the opposing box but could not convert. Then it appeared that the Xoloitzcuintles would be playing with 10 men after a red card was called in the 49th minute against midfielder Fernando Valenzuela for slide tackling Jesus Sanchez from behind. Valenzuela was nowhere near the ball, and the referee quickly called a red card. However, VAR was used, and the card was surprisingly reduced to a yellow for Valenzuela.

Both teams kept up an aggressive style of play, adding on offensive players for substitutions, but neither side was successful in finding the net in the second half yet.

The 87th minute proved very dangerous for Tijuana as Chivas were moving the ball quickly inside the penalty box before Pavel Perez tried to put a shot on goal that was stopped by the hand of a diving Tijuana defender, resulting in a late penalty.  The penalty itself was once again taken by Guzman, who this time sent it to the right where goalkeeper Antonio Rodriguez  just managed to get a hand on the shot, but the ball was struck so hard it stayed on track going into the goal. 

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The referees awarded eight minutes of stoppage time, but it was not enough time for the border town club to salvage a draw despite a hard shot by Cavallini that just managed to hit the top post, leaving the final score at 2-1. 

The Xoloitzcuintles now find themselves in a position outside of the playoff picture in 14th place on the table, with only seven points getting close to the halfway point of the season with 11 games left in the campaign. 

The road trip for Tijuana continues on as they will take on manager Miguel Herrera’s former team, Club América, at the historic Estadio Azteca, who are third on the table with 13 points on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. PST.

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