SAN DIEGO, CA.- Club Tijuana suffered a 1-0 loss to San Luis and with that they are now officially eliminated from any possibilities of reaching the playoffs. It was a valiant effort from a “B’ team that the Xolos fielded and who suffered two red cards in the second half.
With the round of 16 only a few days away Xoloitzcuitles manager Antonio Mohamed decided to keep all of his regular starters off of the field. This inexperienced squad seemed hungry for glory and looked determined to go for the win, but did not have the chemistry between themselves to trouble the San Luis side that looked to close out their season at home with dignity.
During an uneventful first half the Xolos looked for crosses into their tall striker Danny Marquez as their main weapon, but they were unable to put in precise crosses for him. Long distance shots were the second option, but these were ending up in the hands of veteran goalkeeper Oscar Perez.
The clearest chance for the Xoloitzcuitles in the first half came at minute 19 when Raul Enriquez dribbled a counter attack, he passed it off to the right where Richard Ruiz could have had a first time shot but opted for a cut back and a pass back to Enriquez. Enriquez didn’t really expect the ball back but put in a first time shot anyways that went well wide.
The game went into half time scoreless with the Xolos slightly better than the home side with out causing too much trouble.
Since the game was not offering too much excitement, the center referee decided to get involve. In the 53rd minute he showed a direct red card to Diego Olsina of Xolos. Olsina had lifted he foot a bit much, but never kicked his opponent.
Ten minutes later it would be double the red for Xolos, this time it was Noe Maya who was sent off for a harsh sliding tackle from behind. The controversy came because just seconds before that the referee had shown a yellow card to San Luis’ David Cuevas for a similar tackle. The Xoloitzcuitles would play the final 27 minutes with a two man disadvantage.
Tijuana reorganized with every man back defending and looking for a counter attack opportunity here and there. And Richard Ruiz had such an opportunity to win the game in the 77th minute. He was face to face with goalkeeper Oscar Perez and put his shot wide. Ruiz had the option to pass the ball of to his teammate on the right so he could push the ball into an open net.
With an extra two players on the field San Luis pressured for the winning goal. Loads of crosses came in from both sides of the field and the Xolos defenders seemed organized enough to deal with it all. Tijuana defenders were able to clear most crosses and send their forward chasing the ball up the field.
In the 85th minute the Tijuana luck ran out. Another one of San Luis crosses came in that Joshua Abrego header away. The ball went up in the air and from outside the box Alan Zamora ran onto the ball and volleyed a powerful and low shot that blasted pass the entire Xolos defense and goalkeeper Adrian Zermeño for the opening goal.
That goal was enough to take the fight out of the remaining nine Xolos on the field. San Luis says goodbye to their home fans with a 1-0 win, while the Xolos say goodbye to any last minute hope of making the playoffs.