At one point the Caliente Stadium held a similar weight as the Azteca Stadium did for the Mexican National Team. Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente drew 1-1 with Tigres UANL during week 3 of the Apertura 2014 of La Liga MX earning their first point in three games.
“They are a great team that played an intense game, but we are happy for how we played,” Xolos player Dario Benedetto said after the game. “One wants to get the three points at home, or as a visitor. We haven’t been able to do that. The team is clam because we did a good game against a great team.”
The Aztec dogs began strong taking control of the ball and setting conditions on the pitch. Colombian Dayro Moreno was all over the pitch for Xolos constantly moving the ball forward. However, he was inaccurate in his shots hitting the crossbar or missing by inches to excite the fans.
Argentine Dario Benedetto was also constant thorn in the Tigres’ side. In the 11th minute his persistence paid off. Cristian Pellerano received a pass in the central area and on first touch passed to Benedetto who was inbound to goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman’s net. The Argentine took the ball into the area and fired to the top near corner for the 1-0.
Minutes later Moreno had a great opportunity to double the lead when he tried for Guzman’s near bottom corner. The keeper knelt and kept the ball from entering his net. The missed chances would make a difference on the board.
In the 24th minute on a corner kick, Tigres closed the gap. Former Xolos player Egidio Arevalo passed to Juninho who was unmarked in front of goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo. The Brazilian did not forgive and executed Saucedo. He fired low to the keeper’s left and found the far lower corner for the 1-1.
From that point on, the game went into a slump with both teams battling for control of the midfield. The game began to get rough with several fouls from both sides. Slowly, Tigres took over the field. In the 42nd minute Tigres brought the crowd to an “ah” when Marco Rodriguez hit the near post.
The second half was also slow for both sides. Tigres were content on defending their point against a team that had both Moreno and Benedetto constantly on attack. The race was between Rodriguez and Benedetto on who earned more shots on goal.
Hernan Pellerano, the younger brother, saved the point for Xolos in the 74th minute after Saucedo was defeated the ball looked like it would roll in. Pellerano cleared the ball on a play that generated from a defensive error.
Cesar Farias made his substitutions bringing in Henry Martin and Americans Joe Corona and Paul Arriola. From the second he hit the pitch, Arriola changed the dynamics of the game. The speedy Chula Vista-native instantly moved ahead on attack. However, the game would end with the 1-1.
Xolos have given up the advantage they held over the rest of the league in past tournaments, playing in the city that is farthest north of Latin America. Any team that travelled to Tijuana had to make serious adjustments to the distance and the synthetic pitch. Xolos were practically invincible on their territory. They have struggled in their last three home games and the fans demonstrated their unhappiness with team booing at the end of the game.
Club Tijuana will travel to Zacatepec to play in the Copa MX before facing Monarcas Morelia in week 4. Tigres UANL will host Club America.