Club Tijuana continued their strong form under coach Antonio Mohamed and defeated Estudiantes Tecos 2-0 Friday. Second-half goals from Pepe Sand and Egidio Arevalo Rios powered the visiting Xolos to victory. The win moves Tijuana closer to staying in the Mexican Primera next season and helps them keep pace in the liguilla race.
The first half was dull from the first whistle, and it initially seemed like neither team would score. Tecos had the better of the run of play, and "Pony" Rodrigo Ruiz had a few free kicks during the half. Ruiz's best chance came in the 23rd minute with a free kick on the left edge of the box. The attempt was pushed over the bar by Tijuana goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo. It seemed Tijuana were content to sit back and wait for Tecos to tire before taking over in the second half.
The Xolos ratcheted up the pressure quickly. Joe Corona, who entered the match at the restart, had a dangerous chance in the 52nd minute, making a run through the Tecos defense before goalkeeper Christian Martinez ran into him and blocked the shot.
In the 61st minute, Tijuana broke the stalemate. American Edgar Castillo made a terrific run along the endline and cut in to take a shot. His initial attempt was blocked, but he followed it and it bounced up in the air off his head. Sand was in the vicinity, and the looping ball bounced off his midsection and into the net. Although Sand poached the goal, it was a terrific individual play by Castillo to set up the score
Following that, Arevalo Rios, who is a defensive midfielder not known for his offensive skills, happened upon a poor clearance in the 81st minute. The clearance bounced directly to him on the edge of the box, and he took the shot on the volley to the far post. He obviously needed considerable skill to get that goal, but Tijuana must have known it was their night when he scored.
So with Tijuana's prospects looking up, where does that leave Tecos? Their chances of avoiding relegation at the end of the tournament are growing more and more unlikely. The reality grows week by week that they will dig themselves into such a hole that they won't be able to fight their way out. Although Queretaro and Atlas are not doing particularly well, Tecos' futility is making a relegation battle less plausible. At this point, it seems like relegation is Tecos' and their streak of staying in the top flight will end at season's end.