It was not the prettiest of games between Necaxa and Club Tijuana this Friday, July 7, as the teams played to a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Victoria.
Both teams combined for a mere one shot on target in the first half of the clash in Aguascalientes in what proved to be a lackluster first 45 minutes.
The first big scoring opportunity came in the fourth minute when a header by Alexis Pena off a corner by Bryan Garnica hit the post to keep the game scoreless. In the 29th minute, Edgar Mendez released a potent near-post strike from the left wing, but Jose de Jesus Corona kept the shot out of the net with a fantastic save.
The second half of the match had a much better pace to it, with both teams combining for eight shots on target in it. In the 49th minute, a shot by Lucas Rodriguez inside of the penalty area was stopped by Necaxa goalkeeper Raul Gudino. “Chuy” Corona continued to be important for Club Tijuana in the second half, as he held on firmly to a ball after a header by Edgar Mendez in the 52nd minute. In the 69th minute, the 42-year-old goalkeeper made two more saves, stopping two consecutive shots by Uruguayan striker Facundo Batista.
In the 73rd minute, the first goal of the night finally came when Carlos Gonzalez scored off a header from a cross by Diego Barbosa. It was Gonzalez’s second-consecutive goal in his first two games for Club Tijuana, and it was the first goal contribution for newcomer Diego Barbosa as well.
It seemed like everything was under control for the Xoloitzcuintles after the goal, keeping a hold of possession and maintaining order. Miguel Herrera even replaced attacking midfielder Lucas Rodriguez with defender Rafael Fernandez and winger Alejandro Martinez with midfielder Ivan Tona in the 79th minute to try and maintain the lead.
However, in the 90th minute, Alan Montes scored to tie the game in the dying moments of the match for the home team. The Mexican center-back scored off a header from a cross by Cristian Gonzalez, who sent it a perfect assist to tie the game.
Necaxa was even close to winning the game in stoppage time, but a shot by Facundo Batista was deflected by Abraham Flores and was sent out of play to keep the 1-1 scoreline.
The result was highly disappointing for Club Tijuana, as the win seemed like it was secured after scoring the first goal of the match. Necaxa had to break a scoreless drought of 278 minutes to tie the game, as the Aztec Canines’ away struggles remain prevalent in Miguel Herrera’s second stint with the club.
The Prehistoric Dogs were only able to get one win on the road last season and were tied for the worst road record in the Liga MX with Mazatlan FC. These are the type of games that Club Tijuana must gain three points from if the team aspires to make the playoffs and be competitive this season with Miguel Herrera. The Tijuana Xolos will return home for Week 3 to face Cruz Azul at the Estadio Caliente this next Friday, July 14.
Xolos’ Lineup: Jose de Jesus Corona, Diego Barbosa, Kevin Balanta, Nicolas Diaz, Alan Vega (68′ Abraham Flores), Christian Rivera, Fernando Madrigal (68′ Kevin Castaneda), Alejandro Martinez (79′ Ivan Tona), Lucas Rodriguez (79′ Rafael Fernandez), Alexis Canelo, Carlos Gonzalez (89′ Braian Romero)
Francisco, 26, Chula Vista/Tijuana. I have been a Padres fan all my life, did most of the series previews and recaps in the Padres’ 2016 season for EVT. Now I focus more on the local soccer scene. Tijuana Xolos, San Diego Loyal, San Diego Wave.