Xolos move into top of standings with 2-0 win against Jaguares

First place dogs

TIJUANA –It was supposed to be a daunting task.

Everything pointed to a possible rough start of the Apertura 2012 season when the schedule was released earlier this summer. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles would face what could be considered the toughest part of its calendar during its first seven matches.

Tijuana didn't have much trouble getting through the first seven games and the initial two months of the season.

The Xolos extended a four-game unbeaten streak with a 2-0 win against Jaguares de Chiapas Friday night at Estadio Caliente in a Week 7 match up.

Alfredo Moreno and Duvier Riascos scored in each half to give the Xolos its third-straight win.

The Xolos are 5-1-1 with 16 points in the standings tied for first place with Toluca heading into this weekend's games. Toluca plays Club America Sunday.

"It doesn't matter what we do now," Mohamed said about being in first place. "We can't talk about being in first place. That's a price for these players but there is still a lot to do. We will continue with this plan but we can't think much farther than the next game."

Tijuana won't play another regular tournament game for 16 more days when it travels to Cancun to face Atlante. Coach Antonio Mohamed's squad then returns to Estadio Azteca, where it remains unbeaten this season, to host Atlas of Guadalajara. The game after that is at Queretaro.

All three, Atlante, Atlas and Queretaro are considered to be weaker rivals than the 10 teams the Xolos have already faced. Those three teams are a combined 3-6-8 record. That is 11 combined points in the standings.

That means the Xolos will head into what could now be the weakest part of its schedule before taking on some of Mexico's best teams. Tijuana has Monterrey, last year's runner up, defending champion Santos, Cruz Azul and Morelia on the schedule after facing Queretaro.

Morelia headed into this weekend in third place, four points behind the Xolos. Cruz Azul was also four points back. Monterrey and Santos are considered heavy favorites to make a run at another tournament final.

That part of the schedule appears to be much stronger in comparison to the first seven games where the Xolos beat Puebla, Pumas UNAM, Tigres UANL and Club America. It tied with Pachuca and its only loss came at Leon, a 4-0 rout in Week 2.

But the Xolos appear to be a different team in comparison to that loss.

Tijuana continues to come out attacking its opponents.

Against Jaguares (1-5-1, four points) Friday night in front of an announced crowd of 19,731, Mohamed continued the trend. The Xolos continued to control possession in the second half, keeping Chiapas from creating any real threats, except for one in the 63rd minute.

That's when Xolos goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo made a diving save. Saucedo slapped away with two hands a bending shot from about 20-yards away. The ball bounced a few yards in front of Saucedo before he got his hands on it.

The play helped save Saucedo's fourth shutout of the season.

Moreno's score came in the 41st minute via a penalty kick to give the Xolos the 1-0 lead. Moreno converted the PK after Jaguares' defender Luis Esqueda was whistled for a foul on the Xolos' Riascos in the right corner of the 18-yard box.

Esqueda used a sliding tackle from behind that got enough of Riasco's left leg, sending him to the artificial surface.

Moreno then sent the PK to the lower-right corner of the net past a diving Jaguares goalkeeper Miguel Martinez.

Riascos put the game away in the 84th minute when he beat Jaguares' Elgabry Rangel to a loose ball at midfield. Riascos then broke away from the defense with Ulises Corral and Rangel chasing behind him. Riascos only had Martinez, the goalkeeper to beat. He didn't waste the opportunity, sending a soft touch to the left of Martinez.

That play capped the handful of threats created by each team.

"We didn't have as many chances as in other games but we remained focused and capitalized," Mohamed said. "We knew we had to have patience.

The Xolos also had a chance at goal in the 34th minute when Joshua Abrego poked at a lobbing free kick near Jaguares' right post just in front of the goal line. Abrego got enough of the ball to send it floating over the crossbar, ending the threat.

"It was a game with different emotions. It definitely wasn't a good game for us," said Jaguares coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz. "We needed to penetrate their territory more often. We had one clear one but they made it complicated for us."



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