TOLUCA - Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente finish the Clausura 2014 season with a 3-1 loss to Toluca in the second leg of the quarterfinals.
The Xolos came into the match knowing they needed a win or a draw (with goals) in order to advance to the semifinals of the Clausura, but once again the disastrous away form ended up hurting Club Tijuana.
The match started with Tijuana trying to push forward in the same manner in which they did in the first leg match on Thursday night. But on this occasion Toluca came out and pressured a little more.
The game was an intense midfield battle where both teams pressured each other a stole the ball quickly; this caused for goal scoring opportunities to be at a minimal.
The long range shot seemed like the only means to attack. Argentine forward Dario Benedetto had a couple of tries as did right winger Richard Ruiz. But it ended up being Toluca who took advantage of the long range shot.
In their only effort from distance Toluca took the lead when Antonio Rios put the ball into the top corner. The goal changed nothing for Xolos; before and after the Toluca goal Tijuana needed just one goal.
For the second half Xolos once again came out with the intentions of pushing forward. Manager Cesar Farias sent in Jaminen Ayovi to look for more attacking options.
The Xoloitzcuintles found the equalizing goal early in the second half, as Fernando Arce did well to keep a play alive and send in a cross to where Benedetto headed in the ball. The 1-1 draw would have been enough for Xolos to advance to semifinals.
The Strike of the Mexican-American
It is ironic that Tijuana Xolos, the team that most embraces Mexican-America players would come undone by a Mexican-America player.
Sacramento, California native Miguel Ponce made a run up the field from his left back position and found the space to strike the ball from long distance. The ball creeped into the lower corer of Cirilo Saucedo's post to give Toluca the 2-1 lead.
Once again Xolos were in need of a goal, and once again they couldn't handle the pressure on the road. Manager Cesar Farias subbed out the most dangerous player; Dario Benedetto, central defender Hernan Pellerano won himself two yellow cards within minutes to leave the Xolos down a man. And finally in the dying minutes as the team pushed forward the Edgar Benitez scored the goal that would be the final nail in the Xolos coffin.
Toluca advance to the final four where they'll face Leon, while Tijuana will now have some vacation time before starting pre-season for the Apertura 2014.