TIJUANA – The Xolos began the season Friday night with a 1-1 tie against Morelia on the road.
The outcome makes it 13 games in a row without a loss since coach Antonio Mohamed took over last fall, including four matches in the pre-season.
The tie gave the Xolos one point, which the team needs in its quest to remain in Mexico’s First Division.
Though the teams played evenly, Monarcas got on the board first at Estadio Morelos.
At minute 23, forward Miguel Sabah opened on the right and delivered a perfect pass to Rafael Márquez, who sent the ball into the net.
Tijuana continued to press and tied the game a few seconds before half time.
At minute 45, newly arrived Duvier Riascos managed to draw away Monarcas’ goalkeeper Federico Vilar and attempted a shot but was fouled by Adrián Aldrete.
The referee at first admonished Riascos. Then he consulted with the auxiliary referee, who indicated that it was Riascos who was the victim of the foul.
The referee corrected his call and withdrew the yellow card he had issued Riascos and gave the Xolos the penaly kick.
The Xolos coach was ejected, however, when he demanded that Aldrete be given a red card for the foul against Riascos.
José Sand scored on a penalty kick, tying the game for the Xolos. With the goal, his sixth, Sand became the leading scorer for Tijuana in the First Division.
During the second half, both teams almost gave up a goal. In one play, the referee did not give Morelia a penalty kick after Javier Gandolfi flattened a rival inside the area.
Seemingly to even things up, at minute 81, referee Antony Zanjuampa pardoned goalkeeper Vilar, who appeared to have deserved a red card after knocking down Riascos as he approached the net.
The Xoloitzcuintles return home on Saturday to play against the Rayados de Monterrey at Estadio Caliente, a game that promises to be sold out.