The Tijuana Xolos hope to be a Liguilla contender, well clear of the relegation zone over the next two tournaments, and they looked the part in their 2-0 victory over Puebla on Friday. Puebla have fixed their tax issues and are more stable than they were a year ago, but still played like a relegation contender in their Liga MX opener.
Xolos dominated play from the start and were unlucky not to get a penalty in the 6th minute, when captain Javier Gandolfi was taken down on the edge of the penalty area, but the referee waived play on. The next time they committed a foul in a dangerous spot, they weren't as lucky. In the 9th minute, Jorge Gastelum took down Leandro Augusto on the edge of the penalty area, and Fernando Arce scored on the ensuing free kick to give Tijuana the lead. Alexandro Alvarez was in position to make a save, but couldn't keep the ball out of the net even though it hit him right in the hands.
DaMarcus Beasley of Puebla went down with an injury in the 21st minute and had to be substituted, seriously hindering Puebla's attack. It took until well into the second half for them to get anything going with their attack, but even when they started to look more lively late in the game, it never amounted to clear-cut scoring chances.
Tijuana sealed the victory in the 70th minute with another set piece, this time a corner kick. Augusto set up the chance with a backwards flick, right into the path of Pablo Aguilar, who headed in the clinching goal. Once again, Alvarez was in good position to make a stop but completely misread the header and let in a soft goal.