Club Tijuana had a difficult home game against Atlas de Guadalajara earning a 1-1 at the Caliente stadium to wrap up Saturday’s week 9 action. The Aztec dogs saw themselves behind on the board against the team that currently sits in the second spot for relegation.
The goals came from Chilean Hector Mancilla for Atlas in the first half and Colombian Duvier Riascos in the second for Xolos. After a hard fought 90 minutes Xolos managed to draw and keep their Apertura 2012 undefeated streak at home alive.
“The game leaves us with the notion that we could make a comeback even when down at home,” Coach Antonio Mohamed said after the game. “We played a solid game, but if you don’t score goals you don’t win.”
Xoloitzcuintles faced a team led by Tomas Boy, a veteran coach who took over the team responsibilities less than three weeks ago. He has not led Atlas to a win, but held the top dog to a 1-1 tonight as the visiting team.
“I’m very satisfied because we stood our ground against a great team that’s been very difficult to beat this tournament,” Boy told the press after the game. “We did a lot of defensive work and we had plenty of opportunities to move ahead on the board but came up short.”
Xolos took control of the field early on dominating their opponents. Within three minutes the locals had shot three times with Riascos hitting the crossbar on one occasion. Atlas was up against the wall as Club Tijuana pushed forward.
Atlas had the first shot on goal in the 9th minute when Brazilian Flavio Santos shot from outside the area forcing keeper Cirilo Saucedo to dive. The shot was no problem for Saucedo.
The game continued with the Aztec dogs controlling the sphere. The surprise came in the 30th minute from an error at midfield. Fernando Arce lost the ball allowing Mancilla to reach the area. The Chilean managed to clear himself of the defense and shot past Saucedo to put Atlas up 1-0.
It took Xolos a few minutes to recover from the goal as Atlas forced them on their heels pressuring and keeping the ball away from the local squad. Xoloitzcuintles were able to retake possession of the ball and remount attacks forcing Atlas coach Tomas Boy to come out into the box to shout instructions at his players.
Riascos continued as the key striker for Xolos, yet he had no luck as he hit the crossbar several times before the game went to half time. Atlas returned to the locker room with a one goal advantage.
The second half kicked off with a motivated Xolos team that put the ball in the net two minutes from the start. Unfortunately for Xolos the referee called the play offside.
Atlas tried to control the pace of the game early on. Goalkeeper Miguel Pinto tried to slow the tempo down but was called out by the referee who gave him a yellow card for stalling.
Xolos increased their attack with players making runs on goal from various directions, but hitting the crossbar or sending the ball wide. Mohamed made changes to his line-up bringing in a total of four strikers in an attempt to get the equalizer.
American Joe Corona had a great opportunity heading the ball to the net. Pinto was aware of his surroundings and with cat-like reflexes robbed Corona of a goal. Xolos kept knocking as Atlas laid back to defend waiting for the counter strike.
Boy showed his intent to defend when he removed Santos, a striker, for defender Sergio Ponce.
Xolos’ efforts paid off in the 76th minute. Argentine Diego Olsina, a substitute player, headed the ball in the area. Riascos saw the direction of the ball and hit the ball with his shin to put Xolos on the board.
The goal inspired Xolos. Mohamed once again sent his team forward in search of the go-ahead goal.
Boy did not want to surrender either. After having a defensive posture, he brought in Matias Vuoso as another attack option.
Xolos continued to attack but kept sending the ball wide or over the crossbar. After 90 minutes Xolos and Atlas settled for the 1-1 draw. Tijuana remains atop of the league table with 20 points. Atlas earns a valuable point that keeps them out of the bottom of the relegation table.
The rest of the league:
Cruz Azul 1, America 1
Monterrey 3, Queretaro 2
San Luis FC 1, Pachuca 0
Santos 0, Chiapas 0