EDGAR ZUNIGA - Monday, November 19, 2012
Club Tijuana did just enough to get past Monterrey and into the semifinals, as Edgar Castillo played all 90 and Greg Garza came on as a late sub.
Coming into the match, it was a tall order for Monterrey, who needed to defeat Club Tijuana by two goals in Estadio Caliente, where the Xoloitzcuintles have yet to lose a match all season long.
Although Monterrey dominated possession throughout most of the match, it was Club Tijuana that generated more scoring opportunities. In spite of this, they were kept largely in check by Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco, who did everything possible to keep his team's hopes alive, scrambling to make save after save.
As if things weren't hard enough for Monterrey, Club Tijuana eventually hurt them where they are most vulnerable-on set pieces-which is how the Xolos got on the board in the 48th minute.
Leandro Agusto fired a corner kick into the heart of the 18-yard box, where Pablo Aguilar rose above Monterrey defender Jose Basanta and headed a bullet deep into the net.
Once again, Joe Corona got no play. However, Garza was called to action in the 70th minute, coming on for Leandro Agusto, and joining Castillo, who turned in another terrific performance.
As the game wore on, Monterrey began to show signs of desperation and started to gamble more on the offensive end. Meanwhile, the Xolos maintained their composure and were able to neutralize the Monterrey attack.
Finally, though, Monterrey did score, as a last gasp attack gave them too little too late. Edgar Solís sent a ball into the box, where Aldo de Nigris passed across to Basanta, who touched the ball past Club Tijuana 'keeper Cirilo Saucedo.
Moments later, referee Roberto Orozco signaled the end of the game, ending Monterrey's season and sending the Xolos to the semifinals, where they will face offensive juggernaut León, who crushed Club Tijuana 4-0 in the second week of the season.