Cruz Azul once again earned a win by the minimum difference thanks to a penalty kick. The 1-0 victory against Tijuana gives La Máquina back-to-back victories, while the Xolos suffered their third loss of the young season.
The game started off slowly, but then Cruz Azul’s attack began to click. Roberto Alvarado and Elías Hernández frequently switched wings as they stretched Tijuana’s defense, while Jonathan Rodríguez had several opportunities saved by Manuel Gibrán Lajud.
Then, in the 21st minute, Javier Salas played in Rodríguez, who was brought down by Lajud in the box. Referee Óscar Mejía pointed to the spot, a call that went to VAR before being upheld. Elías Hernández stepped up to take the penalty kick, and he converted it to Lajud’s right to make it 1-0 for Cruz Azul.
Tijuana began to press forward with more intent as they looked to erase the deficit. Miler Bolaños had a good chance with a shot from outside the box, but Jesús Corona made the save. The Xolos had a good spell just before halftime, with Gustavo Bou and Fabián Castillo both having opportunities, but Cruz Azul held on to the lead.
The second half started off with some controversy as Stephen Eustáquio made his debut for Cruz Azul and was shown a straight red card just minutes later. But after once again consulting with VAR, the card was changed from red to yellow and Cruz Azul kept all 11 players on the field.
Eustáquio’s evening didn’t get much better from there, however, as he ultimately left the game injured in the 79th minute; with all their subs used by then, the hosts were forced to see out the final ten minutes of the match with just 10 men.
They were nevertheless able to manage the game and hold on to the lead, despite Tijuana pressing in search of an equalizer.
With the 1-0 win, Cruz Azul reaches seven points while Tijuana still has three.
Cruz Azul: José de Jesús Corona, Pablo Aguilar, Julio César Domínguez, Igor Lichnovsky, Adrián Aldrete (José Madueña 47′), Javier Salas, Elías Hernández, Rafael Baca, Roberto Alvarado (Stephen Eustáquio 56′), Martín Cauteruccio (Édgar Mendez 72′), Jonathan Rodríguez.
Tijuana: Manuel Gibrán Lajud, Julián Velázquez, Luis Fernando Fuentes, Diego Brahieri, Omar Mendoza, Diego González (Ariel Nahuelpán 70′), José Rivero (Antonio Nava 86′), Diego Rodríguez, Fabián Castillo, Gustavo Bou, Miler Bolaños (Luis Chávez 76′).