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Xolos still can’t solve Cruz Azul riddle

Cruz Azul returned to winning with a victory over Tijuana.
Cruz Azul returned to winning with a victory over Tijuana.

Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente fell once more at the Azul Stadium in Mexico City in week 11 action of the Clausura 2014 of La Liga MX. Cruz Azul defeated Xolos 2-1. In six games, the Aztec dogs have not been able to solve la maquina cementera’s riddle to earn a victory. Tijuana has fallen three times at the Azul and have only managed to draw the same amount of games at home.

Both teams were coming off midweek losses to their MLS rivals in CONCACAF Champions League games. Cruz Azul fell 1-0 to Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Tijuana also lost 1-0, but to the Los Angeles Galaxy at the StubHub Center. The teams were looking to get back to winning as they will play the return leg games against their MLS rivals midweek.

Cruz Azul dominated the game from the beginning keeping on top of the Xolos defense. The visitors looked overwhelmed and it looked like a matter of time before la maquina would perforate the net. But the Azulinos kept wasting shot after shot. They made goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo uncomfortable under the three posts, but could not get the ball in the net. The cementeros had 14 shots on goal in the first half with no success.

The first goal came in the 45th minute as the half neared conclusion. American Paul Arriola took the ball to the line, then passed back to center. The ball changed direction slightly when Javier Gandolfi attempted to put it in the net. However, it landed in front of Richard Ruiz who was unmarked and ran in hammering the ball into the net for the 1-0. Despite playing better, Cruz Azul went into the locker room down a goal.

Less than two minutes into the second half Marco Fabian executed Saucedo from a long distance. The Olympic gold medalist looked up and fired a rocket hitting Saucedo’s low near post with a bounce that entered the net despite the keeper’s dive. The equalizer came with practically the entire half left to play.

The game turned into back and forth action with both teams leaving it all on the pitch. But it would be Fabian who would give the maquina the lead in the 70th minute. He took the ball from outside the penalty box and took it close to the center of the half-moon to hit the ball with full force once more. Saucedo could do nothing to stop this one from entering his net for the 2-1.

Cruz Azul took control of the pitch and maintained the ball on the Tijuana side of the field for most of the second half. When Luis Fernando Tena made defensive changes to guard the lead, Xolos were able to make more attacks. Cesar Farias’ changes were offensive as he was trying to at least get the equalizer to not lose any points.

The substitutions appeared to help Xolos as the Aztec dogs were able to increase their attack in the final minutes of play putting Jose de Jesus Corona on edge. Tena’s changes left the field open for Tijuana to attack and they took advantage of it.

Despite the increase in attacks, the scoreboard would not change and La maquina would take the game 2-1. Cruz Azul maintains their dominance over the Aztec dogs. Tijuana reaches 20 games without winning away from the Caliente Stadium.

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