TIJUANA - Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente defeated Monarcas from Morelia for the first time in club history with the 1-0 victory at the Estadio Caliente on Friday night. Team captain Javier Gandolfi scored the lone goal in the match to lead the Xolos to the historic victory.
The Xoloitzcuintes began the match with two good quick chances. On the first one Hérculez Gómez was called for an offside position, and on the second Fernando Arce tried to chip the goalkeeper after a corner kick.
Morelia quickly settled into the match and evened out the game. The battle was intense in the midfield where former Xolos Egidio Arevalo-Rios went toe-to-toe against Cristian Pellerano. Club Tijuana saw three of their players pick up yellow cards because of the intensity in the fouls they were committing. Edgar Castillo, Javier Gandolfi, and Cristian Pellerano all had to be careful with their challenges for the majority of the match.
Both teams canceled each other out during the first half. Tijuana was the team with the majority of possession, but could never break through the Morelia formation. Morelia looked to attack through the speed of former Xolos Duvier Riascos and the ball control of Chilean international Hector Mancilla.
For the second half, the Xoloitzcuintles continued with their dominance in ball possessions but with few clear goal scoring opportunities. Striker Hérculez Gómez was left mostly alone at the top. His partner in the attack Fidel Martínez would drop deep to receive the ball and could never fully connect with the American striker.
Tijuana managed to take the lead in the 61st minute through team captain Javier Gandolfi. Fidel Martínez sent in a frontal cross where Gandolfi was able to get to the ball before the charging Morelia goalkeeper. Gandolfi flicked the ball with his head into the open net to give the home side the lead.
Seven minutes later in the 68th minute Xolos had the ball in the back of the net again. Fernando Arce rounded the goalkeeper and slotted in, but the goal was disallowed due to an offside position from Fidel Martinez who had fed Arce the pass.
Next up for Tijuana is a trip to Mexico City to face the struggling Pumas UNAM, who in turn face Tigres UANL on Saturday.