Xolos vs. Santos Laguna: A point is a point
Club Tijuana remain undefeated at home and Santos remain unbeaten all season, after playing to a 1-1 draw on Friday night at Estadio Caliente. As I mentioned in my preview, the Xolos have been known this season for blowing their lead by allowing late minute goals, and they did just that after a deflected ball and poor marking gave Jesus Escoboza the opportunity to equalize in the 89th minute.
Still, point against Santos is a point against Santos, and it could have been a lot worse. Tijuana did a great job holding off Oribe Peralta and Darwin Quintero the entire match, keeping the first half scoreless. They took a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute when Fidel Martinez sent a ball past Santos goalkeeper Oswaldo Sanchez inside the left post courtsey of Fernando Arce.
It looked as though Tijuana had the game in the bag into the final minutes of the game, until goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo stopped a shot by Peralta which deflected and fell to the feet of an unmarked Escobeza. The 20 year old midfielder didn't waste the opportunity and tapped the ball in for an easy equalizer.
“We are upset about the result but Santos played well late in the match. The team felt tired and I had to make some changes. The result wasn’t what we expected but we faced a good team with good players,” said head coach Jorge Almiron. “Our team had a great effort and it played hard earning the tie. We wanted to win but we took it as far as we could. The play of goal came on a counter attack after losing a ball. The players were upset about giving up the goal in that fashion.”
The Xolos are now 2-2-2 with eight points on the season, and will resume a busy schedule on August 28 when they host Salvadoran side L.A. Firpo in CONCACAF Champions League play. They travel to Chiapas to play Jaguares on August 31 in week 8 of Liga MX.
Santos Laguna remain undefeated all season with the tie, and now have 12 points on the season with a record of 4-0-2. They will play León at Estadio Corona on August 30, three days after Copa MX play against Cruz Azul on August 27.