TIJUANA – Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles looked like they were heading for another home win against Santos Laguna but a just like last weekend in Monterrey a late goal changes the outcome and cost Tijuana points. A 1-1 draw was the final score on Friday night at the Estadio Caliente.
The first half was very evenly fought; no team was able to establish dominance over the other. But there were still some goal scoring opportunities from both sides.
Santos had the first big chance of the match in the 11th minute. In a fast counterattack Carlos Darwin Quintero opened the ball out to the left where Jesus Escoboza appeared all alone. Escoboza went two against one along with Oribe Peralta against Javier Gandolfi who was the final defender. Gandolfi was able to rush to Escoboza and block his shot.
Xolos had their best scoring opportunity in the 31st minute when Fidel Martinez sent a long ball to Dario Benedetto who was returning from injury. Benedetto chased the long pass down to the right wing and sent in a cross to where Martinez and Raul Enriquez where waiting inside the box. Enriquez got his head to the ball and it looked like it was heading into the bottom corner of the goal, but it hit the post and bounced out.
For the second half 18 year old U.S. international Paul Arriola was brought into the game and nearly had a big impact. On his first play in the first minute of the second half Arriola controlled the ball on the right side of the field just outside of the box and self passed the ball over the defender’s head before having a shot that fiorced a big diving save from the Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez.
One minute later Fidel Martinez gave the Xolos the lead after a good combination play between Fernando Arce and Arriola. Arce put in a one time through ball to Martinez who faced off with Sanchez and shot the ball past the Santos goalkeeper.
With the goal deficit Santos turned up the pressure in search of the equalizer; one that would come late in the game at the 87th minute. Oribe Peralta dribbled the ball into the box from the right side, cut into his left foot and shot the ball low. Cirilo Saucedo blocked the ball, but could not hold on to it and Jesus Escoboza took advantage of the rebound to tap the ball in.
Next up for the Xoloitzcuitles is the first CONCACAF Champion’s League game at the Estadio Caliente on Wednesday night against Luis Angel Firpo.