TIJUANA - Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente leave their playoff qualification up in the air by doing something they usually don't do; lose at home. The reigning Mexican league champions came into the Estadio Calinete and walked away with a 1-2 win.
Both teams will now look to other games to see if they advance to the liguilla.
Both sides started off the game pressuring each other for the possesion of the ball, but it was the home team who were able to get a hold of it. Just 30 seconds into the game and Argentine forward Dario Benedetto held onto the ball long enough for Fernando Arce to make a run up the field. Benedetto gave the through ball to Arce who had a first time shot that the Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough blocked.
Minutes later it was Ecuadorian forward Jaimen Ayovi who had a one-on-one against Yarbrough after receiving a pass from Benedetto. Ayovi had the option of laying the ball off to his left where Edgar Castillo had made a run up the field; but the Ecuadorian decided to have a shot straight to the goalkeeper's body.
The Xoloitzcuintles would end up paying highly for their misses. In the 16th minute of play Leon forward Sebastian Maz found just enough space at the top of the box to have a low shot that beat Adriand Zermeño to open the score.
Following the goal, Tijuana kept up with their game plan to control the ball. But the pressure of the visitors never allowed Tijuana to create any real dangerous opportunities.
For the second half, Xolos manager Cesar Farias decided to go more aggresive in search of the equalizing goal that would have guaranteed the playoff ticket. He took off American midfielder Joe Corona and brought on Ecuadorian forward Fidel Martinez to play with three forwards.
It would be the visiting Leon who would find the next goal however. Mexican National Team midfielder Luis Montes unleashed a long distance shot with his left foot that found the top corner of the goal to double the reigning champs lead.
In the 72nd minute it was clearly shown that lucj was not in favor of the Xoloitzcuintles as second half sub Richard Ruiz received a through ball from Dario Benedetto, Ruiz's shot beat the charging goalkeeper but bounced off of the post.
In the 80th minute that luck would turn around for the home side. Argentine midfielder Cristian Pellerano, who was making his return from injury had a weak shot on goal from the right side of the box that took a slight deflection off of a defender. The goalkeeper could not react fast enough and the ball rolled into the back of the net to cut the Leon lead to 1-2.
Following the goal Tijuana got all of the momentum as the pushed forward looking for the equalizer. Although they came close, they could not find the goal that would have seen them through to the playoffs.