Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente and UNAM Pumas squared off in the Estadio Caliente of Tijuana in Week 3 of the Apertura 2012 of the Liga MX. Xolos came into the game with a 4-0 away defeat against the newly promoted Leon; while Pumas won their last game at home. Both teams played under a defensive and conservative tactics in front of a near sold-out stadium. Tijuana played the smarter defensive game and had the best scoring opportunity which allowed them to take the 1-0 victory.
The game started with Tijuana as the team who proposed the most offensive opportunities. The home side was quick on the attack by right offensive winger Duvier Riascos who made a couple of plays with center forward Alfredo Moreno. Unfortunately, Moreno left the game in the 9th minute with a leg injury and was replaced by Raul Enriquez. Due to this injury coach Antonio Mohamed had to change his tactics by putting Riascos closer to the center of the field. The rest of the first half saw a Tijuana side which did not suffer from the departure of Moreno. Meanwhile, Pumas had a difficult time making offensive plays against the Xolos defenders Pablo Aguilar and Javier Gandolfi.
These two defenders would make the play of the match in the 45th of the first half when after a set pieces by Leandro Augusto Gandolfi was left alone in front of Pumas goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios. Gandolfi, unselfishly, passed the ball to Aguilar who scored his second goal of the season in front of an open goal. It is nice to mention that the home crowd became ecstatic, and for the third time this season the fans respected the new norms of not throwing liquids into the air. With this goal Xolos ended the first half with a good advantage not only on the score sheet, but also with better playing.
For the second half, both teams entered the game with the same roster, however it was clear from the
beginning that Pumas coach Joaquin Del Olmo had a more offensive formation. However, Xolos was the team who still had the clearer attacking plays with Duvier Riascos making good playmaking runs on the right and center of the field, although time after time his last touch was failed. As the minutes progressed, coach Mohamed made two defensive substitutions and Pumas three offensive changes. This made the crowd think that Xolos would defend with everything the last 15 minutes of the game but to their luck, Pumas was too weak on that night and the game ended with an ‘Ole, Ole, Ole Xolos, Xolos’, giving the home team their second win of the young season.
With this result, Tijuana showed that they are a real home threat this season by winning two out of two at home and losing one away. Pumas still has work to do but although they lost, the team still has 4 points and they are still one of the favorites to reach the playoffs this season.
– Pumas coach Joaquin Del Olmo returned to Tijuana after promoting Xolos to the first division. The home crowd stood up and applauded as his name was announced letting it known that they appreciate what he did for Xolos and the city of Tijuana.
– This marked the first game in which Xolos played at their new scheduled time; Fridays at 5:30 PM local time. This time has been controversial to the owners of the Xolopass because it is an hour in which many are still a work, and nonetheless people were still filling the stands by the end of the first half.
Enjoy the Xolos vs Pumas Highlights: