Just three days ago they had defeated a South American soccer giant. Despite that, yesterday Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente lost to a team without stars though in great need of a victory to stay in the first division.
The outcome seemed unusual as the Xolos lost 1-0 to Queretaro F.C. because they played at home where the team rarely loses a game. The loss also occurred in the same way it had in the previous Liga MX game—via defensive error.
Xolos coach Antonio Mohamed once again used a lineup composed with the typical substitute players and those in the reserve team, giving most of his starters a rest so they can be in the best conditions before traveling to Brazil for their weekday match against Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, who they just beat this week in the Copa Bridgestone Libertadores de America.
Aware that next week game in Sao Paulo is vital to continue leading their group and that with a tie or victory his Xolos secure a position in the second round of the Copa Libertadores Mohamed decided to gamble with a lineup of players who had never played together as he previously said that his main objective was the internationalization of his team since he had won the Mexican league championship last season.
“We will try to earn points to see if we can qualify,” said Mohamed. “I was always clear that our priority is the Libertadores. Before the season began we prepared ourselves to play the Libertadores and then see if we can qualify.”
Consecutive defeats have kept the Xolos from dominating the local competition as well. Although the team has only one victory in the past five games in the Liga MX-Clausura 2013 against four defeats, they still remain in the upper part of the standings since they started off the season undefeated for the first 5 games.
During Saturday’s game the Xolos had several opportunities early in the game to take a lead but the offense was not capable of scoring on goalkeeper Sergio Garcia. Daniel Marquez missed a simple opportunity as he had a one-on-one against Garcia who deflected the shot in a nice stop by the keeper.
A minute later Marquez had a chance to redeem himself but his shot went to the upper post, the ball bounced back to Diego Olsina who sent a header to the same post that Marquez had delivered his shot seconds earlier.
Forward Raul Enriquez a regular sub when Mohamed plays his usual starting eleven and who has scored two goals this season also failed to add a goal after Olsina sent him an easy ball to put in Garcia’s net.
An error by Jorge Hernandez caused the only goal of the night and Queretaro’s victory as he lost a ball, Julio Nava assisted Wilberto Cosme with an outstanding pass, Cosme then crossed his shot with his right foot as Cirilo Saucedo was unable to block the ball from going into his net.
In the end Tijuana couldn’t come up with a tie even after Fernando Arce and Alfredo Moreno came in the second half to try to get an equalizer for the Xolos.
Queretaro’s coach Ignacio Ambriz said that his team did not play its best soccer but that the victory helps his team continue to stay alive in the division.
“Tijuana who is the champion and is also doing a great Libertadores outplayed us in every aspect,” said Ambriz. “Today we were lucky that they did not score.”
Xolos goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo said that even though they had some mistakes by the defense in the past two games, they are still one of the best defense in the league. And that an example of this is the way their defense performed in the last two seasons and also now in the Copa Libertadores, a tournament where they have faced some of the best in the Americas and so far in three games have not received a goal.
Mohamed also said that they did not understimate their rival and that each game his team plays with the same intensity but the difference today was that they scored a goal and that Queretaro defended their goal well.
“In soccer sometimes you win other times you lose,” said Mohamed. “We are still in position to qualify to the playoffs of the league and also, to the second round of Copa Libertadores. We are on the right way, it’s just the pain of losing, we do not like to lose, but it’s part of the game, also it happens that we are in the bad habit of being accustomed to winning.”