Tijuana defeated León 3-2 on Saturday night, but fell to La Fiera 5-3 on aggregate after an epic comeback attempt ultimately came up short. León needed two late goals to ensure their spot in the semifinals after the 10-man Xolos put up an unexpected fight.
With León leading 3-0 from the first leg, this game seemed to be nothing more than a formality. But Tijuana made it very interesting in a game where the drama started early. Xolos coach Miguel Herrera was ejected from the sidelines in just the 7th minute of the game; three minutes later, Tijuana won a penalty.
William Yarbrough brought down Avilés Hurtado in the box, and after a long delay, referee Luis Enrique Santander gave the penalty on the advice of his assistant. Dayro Moreno stepped up and converted the spot kick to make it 1-0 (1-3) in the 10th minute.
But shortly after that, the Xolos were left with just 10 men after Juninho was sent off for a foul on Alexander Mejía. But despite playing down a man, Tijuana scored again in the 41st minute to make it 2-0 (2-3).
Before León could react, Guido Rodríguez tied the aggregate with his 42nd-minute goal and all of a sudden it was Tijuana who was poised to advance, as the 3-3 aggregate would have seen the Xolos through as the higher seed.
León didn’t hesitate to go to their bench as they looked for the goal they needed to retake control of the series, but despite their numerical advantage they couldn’t break through the Xolos’ defense.
Until the 80th minute, when Mauro Boselli headed the ball home to make it 3-1 (3-4) and put La Fiera back in the driver’s seat. Now that León had an away goal, an aggregate draw was no longer enough for Tijuana. They needed not just one, but two more goals to move on.
There was another goal left in the game, but it was for León, as Luis Montes put the final nail in Tijuana’s coffin in the 83rd minute to ensure La Fiera would move on.
With the 3-2 loss (5-3 aggregate win), León advances to the semifinals while Tijuana is eliminated.
Tijuana: Federico Vilar, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Yasser Corona, Víctor Aguilera, Damián Pérez, Juan Carlos Núñez, Guido Rodríguez, Dayro Moreno (Gabriel Hauche 77′), Juninho, Avilés Hurtado (Víctor Malcorra 59′), Milton Caraglio (Henry Martín 69′).
León: William Yarbrough, Fernando Navarro, Guillermo Burdisso (Juan Ignacio González 45′), Diego Novaretti, Efraín Velarde, Elías Hernández, Leonel López (Maximiliano Moralez 67′), Alexander Mejía (Christian Valdez 44′), Luis Montes, Mauro Boselli, Germán Cano.