On a rainy night, Tijuana hosted Tigres. Xolas made history by winning against the reigning champions 2-0 with goals scored by Renae Cuéllar and Dulce Alvarado.
After a win against León last week, the Amazonians went to the Caliente Stadium to play against the unpredictable Xolas. In Tijuana’s 2023 season’s records, we can find a tough loss to América and a 1-0 loss to Mazatlán, one of the league’s punching bags who hasn’t won a single game except for that one.
Moreover, Tijuana has never won against Tigres … until Friday, that is.
One would’ve expected differently, and more so after Tijuana got a goalless draw against Atlético de San Luis last week. Nonetheless, Tigres has reached the half of the season not in the best of forms.
Problems in Tigres’ midfield
Nancy Antonio didn’t have the best of games in the midfield with seven losses, one of which was the one that led to the first goal of Tijuana.
But before the goal, the same loss led to this attack by Dulce Alvarado.
Cecilia Santiago made a save with her foot and sent the ball to the corner. Paola Villamizar sent the ball to the near post and Mónica Alvarado diverted it to the far post. Cristina Ferral was marking Renae Cuellar but lost her and therefore let her finish it.
Xolas had a great game defensive-wise, neutralizing “La Maga” Ovalle no matter what she tried. In the last play of the first half, Mia Fishel sent a through ball to Ovalle. She shot but it was blocked.
Expected changes came in at the beginning of the second half, with midfielders Natalia Gaitán and Liliana Mercado coming in while Antonio and Cruz’s game was over for the night. For Tijuana, Bianca Mora came in for Alvarado. Despite her good game, the coach had to sub her out due to a broken wrist.
Xolas strikes again
Despite the midfield being more stable, Tigres kept lending the ball to Tijuana and vice-versa. No team looked to be in control and in the end, the chaos benefited Xolas.
Dulce Alvarado finally scored one after having at least two good previous chances she couldn’t finish. Villamizar sent a cross and a terrible defensive mistake left the goal open for Dulce to finish with a header. The miscommunication between goalkeeper Santiago and Anika Rodríguez meant the nail in the coffin for Tigres.
The Amazonians, not being used to being behind the counter, were desperate to get one back. Of course, this didn’t bode well and only one minute later, Tijuana almost scores the third. Villamizar, once again, sent a cross to the far post. Cuéllar connected with it but Ferral blocked the shot with her right leg.
With two goals on the counter, Xolas handed the ball to Tigres. As a result, they started to find spaces and attacked through the flanks. Meanwhile, Tijuana sent long balls to Cuéllar whenever they could but Tigres center backs reacted promptly.
At the end of 96 minutes, no team was able to move the score again and Xolas did what no one thought possible.
The fall of one of the greatest?
This was another frustrating match for Ovalle, who can’t seem to find another partner in crime as Katty Martínez was for her during her time at Tigres. That level of understanding in the field is something she hasn’t been able to find in anyone else so far.
Three losses in their last four matches were something unthinkable for this club since 2018. In that Clausura tournament, the Amazonians lost three games but ended up winning Liguilla nonetheless. Knowing this, fans shouldn’t freak out just yet. Of course, they’re angry and many are asking for Carmelina Moscato’s head but there’s still time to learn and improve.
Tijuana found a way
It is important to highlight that the Perrísimas won this game without two of their main stars. Angelina Hix, who missed the Week 8 game due to suspension, couldn’t play against Tigres due to injury. While Daniela Espinoza is also injured (calf) and will be out of the fields for some weeks.
That’s why it was so important for Tijuana that their main goalscorer could score again. The last time before this game Renae Cuéllar notched a goal was on Jan. 29. That day, Xolas played against Puebla and Cuéllar scored a hat trick. After that match, she went on a goalscoring drought.
Therefore, Renae scoring again is very important for Tijuana. If they want to keep climbing spots in the table, they’re gonna need all the help they can get. For Week 10, they’ll hit the road to play against Necaxa. Let’s see if they show some consistency in that upcoming game.
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