Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente seemed inspired; as if they would leave Estadio Caliente Thursday night with a promising lead in the first leg of the Mexican league playoffs. But the Xolos were incapable of scoring.
The team showed signs that they could defeat Club Deportivo Toluca since the opening minute when forward Dario Benedetto had a key opportunity to score but his shot just missed the goal.
The opportunities continued in the first half as the Xolos were in charge of the game since Toluca did not care for attacking all they did during this half was defend their area and hope that the locals wouldn’t score. Midfielder Richard Ruiz also had a good chance at breaking the deadlock but goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera proved to be the hero of this game since he deflected the ball and kept the Xolos from getting on the scoreboard.
In the second half Toluca focused on possession of the ball to stop the Xolos from attacking and taking a lead. In the 60th minute Club Tijuana created another play that should have ended in a goal when Benedetto assisted defender Edgar Castillo but he didn’t hit the ball correctly and his strike went wide.
Coach Cesar Farias then substituted Benedetto, Fidel Martinez and Cristian Pellerano perhaps to have them in good health for Sunday’s game, which will decide who reaches the semifinals.
Farias said his team played well and that even though they have to win at Toluca to make it to the next round, the Xolos are more alive than ever.
“We created plenty of goal situations, they only had a few occasions against our net,” he said.