Tijuana Xolos Liga MX CL 18 Week 16 Recap: Xolos Move a Step Closer to Playoffs With Efforts by Lajud & Bolaños in Leon

Credit: Xolos

The Tijuana Xolos played their second to last game in the Liga MX Clausura 2018 regular season this past Saturday.

The Border City Dogs visited the Nou Camp to face archrivals Leon in a crucial away match.

Club Tijuana had yet to score a goal away from home heading into this match and were due for a tough clash. The Xolos did score their first away goal in the Clausura 2018 season as the game ended in a deadlock 1-1 draw. The duel was intense throughout the 90 minutes as both teams really wanted the three points from the game.

Leon was missing several key players like Guillermo Burdisso, Ignacio Gonzalez, and Alexander Mejia. Andres Andrade also started the game on the bench and was replaced by 19-year-old Jorge Diaz. Diego Cocca opted for the same lineup that defeated Chivas de Guadalajara 3-0. The formation was a 4-2-3-1; Gustavo Bou played out on the left wing, Juan Lucero was used as a lone striker, and Ignacio Malcorra remained on the bench. Alejandro Guido also reappeared on the bench after suffering from panic attacks and anxiety problems earlier in the year.

There were no goals in the first half as both goals in the clash came in the final 10 minutes. The home team struck first with a free kick goal by Elias Hernandez in the 82nd minute. However, Tijuana pulled it back quickly with a beautiful outside-of-the-box goal by Miller Bolaños in the 84th minute. Both teams kept the encounter exciting and intense in the final minutes as the Xolos picked up a valuable point away from home.

The Aztec Canines stayed in seventh place, but improved to 22 points on the season. Pachuca, Necaxa, and Veracruz all failed to win this week, which improved the Xolos’ chances of making the playoffs. Pumas UNAM, who has 20 points, still has to play against Santos Laguna this Sunday afternoon. The Border City Dogs will decide their own fate next Friday as they will host Toluca in their final Clausura 2018 regular season game.

Xolos’ Lineup: Gibran Lajud, Omar Mendoza, Pablo Aguilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Damian Perez, Damian Musto (82′ Ignacio Malcorra), Ignacio Rivero (62′ Luis Chavez), Gustavo Bou, Miller Bolaños, Luis Angel Mendoza (71′ Rubio Rubin), Juan Martin Lucero

Man of The Match: Gibran Lajud

Gibran Lajud has had some spectacular performances this season, especially away from home. One of his most memorable games of the season was against Club América at the Estadio Azteca. This game at the Nou Camp is another one to add to his notable performances this semester. The Mexican goalkeeper had six saves against Leon and was a catalyst for the Xolos. Lajud’s most spectacular effort was a double-save in the 35th minute of the match. The 24-year-old continues to be one of Club Tijuana’s most important players in this tournament and should still be key moving forward.

Main Talking Point: Away Goal

After 713 minutes of play, the Tijuana Xolos have finally scored a goal away from the Estadio Caliente. You must score to win, and this was a very worrying stat, and still is, heading into the playoffs. This horrendous offensive record goes down to Diego Cocca’s conservative style of play away from the Mictlan. The Xolos did seem aggressive in this game and did finally score their first goal on the road in the Liga MX Clausura 2018 tournament. It was fitting that the goal was scored by Miller Bolaños, who currently leads the team with five goals. The Ecuadorian forward is on fire and is currently leading the offense statistically and on the field.

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