Pumas UNAM was finally able to remove that thorn from their side called Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente; team they had not been able to beat since the dogs promoted to the first division. The universitarios played a game with good defense and counterstrike options to defeat Xolos 3-0 at the Olimpico Universitario Stadium in the final game of week 5 of the Clausura 2014 of La Liga MX.
The Auriazules are beginning to show signs of their pedigree having four positive results in the five games they have played in this season. They win their first home game since September 2013. As for Xolos, their away game struggles continue. The Aztec dogs have not won an away game since January 2013, ironically the game was against Pumas UNAM.
The teams hit the pitch with full velocity. After several runs on goal from Americans Herculez Gomez and Paul Arriola for Xolos, Pumas broke the net in the 15th minute of action. Martin Bravo, who was a terror on the pitch for the home side, stumbled on approach and passed to an open Daniel Ludueña who shot with full force to find the top left corner of Cirilo Saucedo’s net. The Argentine combination put Pumas up 1-0.
Tijuana pressured and moved lines forward after the goal in an attempt to get the equalizer. This left spaces for Pumas. The universitarios did not waste and continued to apply counter runs on the visiting squad.
The Pumas pressure forced Tijuana to send the ball out and set-up a corner kick. Tijuana failed to set a good defense for the corner. Paraguayan Dario Veron was left unmarked and without jumping simply turned the direction of the ball with his head to find Saucedo’s unguarded far post for the 2-0 in the 34th minute.
In the second half, Tijuana pressured the Universitario defense with Ecuadorian Fidel Martinez as the main attack. Pumas had decided to hold back and defend their lead allowing Xolos to get shots on goal. However, the Aztec dogs were not hitting their mark. In the 60th on a set-piece the rojinegros had two clear shots in front of goal that Alejandro Palacios was able to stop despite the offside call.
Pumas opted for a counterstrike strategy in the second half. Despite taking this option, Pumas had more dangerous plays than Tijuana as they moved closer to scoring their third goal. Suddenly Tijuana came to life taking the game to the UNAM side of the pitch. The Pumas defense took a blunt hit as Xolos hammered with everything they had.
Coach Jose Luis Trejo made a defensive change removing striker Dante Lopez and bringing in Luis Fuentes for better ball recovery. Cesar Farias also made a change, his was offensive bringing in Richard Ruiz to help the Xolos attack. Within minutes Martinez put the ball in the net, but the linesman lifted the flag since he was inches offside.
Xolos continued to mount attacks on the Pumas defenses, but the home-side held their ground. While Xoloitzcuintles played a great game, Pumas played like they had not played in a long time bringing their fans to a fervent cheer. The Mexico City squad showed signs of when they were in the “hey-day” of a top flight Mexican team.
When Tijuana played best, the spaces they left open created a counter run opportunity for Bravo to take the ball to the final line. The Argentine passed back to David Cabrera who was inbound without marker. He headed the ball between the defense and Saucedo to seal the game 3-0.
Pumas will face Merida FC in Copa MX action before returning to La Liga MX and visit the Camp Nou to take on current champion Leon FC. Tijuana returns home to host Monterrey.