The Star-News


Different lineup, same priorities

Sun, Feb 24 2013 10:10 AM Posted By: Jose Guzman

Following Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente's 2012  championship in the Liga MX, the club decided their main objective this season was to focus primarily on The Copa Bridgestone Libertadores.

Last night Club Atlante F.C. seemed like the perfect opponent to help them achieve that goal.

The Xolos rested some of the usual starters since they had played Tuesday during their debut in Copa Libertadores, where the Xolos defeated the Colombian club Millonarios 1-0  in Bogota.

In their place, Xolos coach Antonio Mohamed's lineup Saturday night featured a mix of players that had not played a game together this season. Nevertheless, the squad delivered a victory at Estadio Caliente.

“Our priority is the cup,” said Mohamed. “We are going to play each game to win, I made it clear that our objective is Copa Libertadores.”

With only four starters from the championship team Mohamed was able to win three more points in a 2-0 victory over Atlante. Some of his key players remained on the bench while others where not available for this game.

Players like captain Javier Gandolfi did not see action but that was not a factor because in the second minute of play forward Raul Enriquez scored his second goal of the season as Diego Olsina sent a cross directly to Enriquez, who headed the ball  into the net.

From this point in the game Xolos took control of the match as Atlante missed the few opportunities they had to score.

In the second half things did not change as the Xolos continued attacking goalkeeper Jorge Villalpando’s net but couldn’t finish. Mohamed made some changes to secure the game but instead of defending his lead, as he typically does, he added two attacking minded players in Duvier Riascos and Cristian Pellerano

This double substitution shifted the game as Xolos gained more possession of the ball and finally created another opportunity for Riascos to score his third goal of the season in the 40th minute after receiving a pass from forward Alfred Moreno.

Enriquez said that he is always prepared to play when his coach needs him and that he is glad to continue scoring to show Mohamed that he made the right choice in giving him the opportunity to play.

“It’s an enormous satisfaction, it was an early goal that gave us the opportunity to manage the game,” he said.

Mohamed said his team deserved the win and that he likes his players attitude and effort specially those who came in from bench to start today in place of those who needed to rest from the long trip to Colombia this week.

“We are going to try to earn twenty-five to twenty-six points so we can pass to the Liguilla and ten to eleven points in the Libertadores to pass to the next round.” said Mohamed. “We are the league champions and we want to achieve (at) the international level.


© 2009 The Star-News