Xolos thrill fans with late fireworks in Cup opener

Tijuana fans cheered their Xolos to victory. (Photo by Gonzalo Gonzalez/Jam Media/Getty Images)
Tijuana fans cheered their Xolos to victory. (Photo by Gonzalo Gonzalez/Jam Media/Getty Images) /

Tijuana scored twice in the final 8 minutes of their Copa MX opener to knock off Group 5 rival Querétaro.

The 82nd Copa MX tournament kicked off on Tuesday night with four matches, including a rematch of Saturday night’s Liga MX contest between the Xolos and Querétaro which ended in a 1-1 tie.

The opening night schedule saw two all Liga MX matches (Pachuca at Atlas and Querétaro at Tijuana), one all Ascenso MX match (Atlante at Mérida) and one Liga MX vs Ascenso MX match (Correcaminos at Santos).

The only thing we know for sure is that there will be no repeat. That’s because defending champion América is not participating in the Copa, since the Aguilas are playing in the Concacaf Champions League.

Tijuana 2, Querétaro 0

Tijuana took over late in this Group 5 match-up and Camilo Sanvezzo scored against his old team. In minute 82, Xolos winger Angel Sepúlveda collected a rebound wide left and sent in a perfectly timed cross that found Miller Bolaños racing into the box. The speedy Colombian curled a shot around the Gallos Blancos keeper for a 1-0 lead.

Five minutes later, the Xolos teamed up for a gorgeous team goal. From the right flank, Ignacio Rivero crossed to “Cubo” Torres in the half-moon, Torres touched a pass to Bolaños who fed Sanvezzo who was breaking in on the left. Sanvezzo’s initial shot was blocked, but he gathered in the rebound and tucked the ball into the bet on his second try.

The Xolos took all 3 points to move to the top of the group that also includes Zacatecas.

Atlas 1, Pachuca 1

Ricky Álvarez put the Zorros ahead at the half-hour mark with a beauty of a free kick from the top of the box after Facundo Barceló was fouled by Pachuca defender Oscar Murillo. Tuzos sub Jonathan Copete headed home the equalizer in minute 83 after Franco Jara made a nifty run through midfield, then laid it off to “Dedos” López who dribbled toward the box and lifted a neat cross that found Copete just inside the penalty spot.

Early on, Pachuca’s latest teen sensation Roberto de la Rosa hit the crossbar then was denied twice on the same play by Atlas keeper Edgar Hernández who blocked a shot from a sharp angle then pushed aside the rebound effort. In the second half, De la Rosa, 19, squandered two easy-looking scoring chances.

The two Liga MX teams are tied atop Group 9 with 1 point each. Zacatepec is the third team in their group.

Santos 1, Correcaminos 1

The Correcaminos almost pulled off the first big surprise of the Copa, taking a late first-half lead through a breakaway converted by Antonio López. Midfielder Wilber Rentería lofted a long pass behind the Santos defense and López chased it down, getting to the ball before Santos keeper Carlos Acevedo and popping it into the back of the net.

Santos put an end to talk of an upset in minute 56 thanks to a brilliant individual effort from Bryan Garnica who kept his balance despite a trip, stumbled into the box and cut back a pass to Diego Valdés at the top of the penalty area. Valdés stepped around a defender and fired home from 16 meters.

In the dying minutes, Julio Furch (Santos) and Rentería (Correcaminos) missed opportunities. Furch was late to see a cross pass in front of him with the net empty, then Rentería shot just over the net from 8 meters after being chipped in behind the defense. The two teams are tied with 1 point in Group 7 with the Chivas set to debut against Santos next week.

Mérida 4, Atlante 1

In Group 3, Atlante’s Jesús Misael Vázquez was red-carded in minute 10 and it was all downhill for the Potros after that. Aldo Polo knocked home the ensuing penalty kick and the Venados cruised to victory as Esteban Torres scored a goal in each half for the home team.

Atlante’s Erik Vera put the Potros on the scoreboard in minute 82, but Eduardo Aldana restored the three-goal lead five minutes later. Cd. Juárez is the third team in the group.