In a two minute span Club Leon scored a pair of goals to defeat Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente 2-0 at the Nou Camp Thursday in the first leg of the Apertura 2012 semifinals of La Liga MX. Leon entered the game as the top scoring team of the regular season, Xolos as one of the top defenses.
Othoniel Arce came off the bench to give Leon the lead, a few minutes later Mexican national team player Carlos “Gullit” Peña added the second to give Leon the two goal lead going into Sunday’s game at the Caliente stadium.
Xoloitzcuintles began the game on the offensive trying to get that goal that would give them advantage on the away-goals rule. Instead, Xolos were subject to the referee’s stringent booking. Before half time the Aztec dogs had earned three yellow cards, limiting the players in their defense.
With the bookings Xolos players eased off on their attack in fear of receiving another booking that could turn red. This allowed the home team to change the tempo of the game and move up on the attack. However, it was the visiting team that made the attempts on goal.
Alfredo Moreno performed a bicycle kick that would have made any highlight reel around the world if it entered the net. Uruguayan Sebastian Maz came close for Leon in the first half. After beating his marker he fired to goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo’s right. The ball rolled to the outside of the post missing the net by inches.
Colombian Duvier Riascos was the most active player for Xolos constantly moving into attack position. However, “la culebra” was not having his night.
The first half came to a close with a scoreless draw. The longer the game went scoreless the more it benefited the visiting squad. The Xolos defense proved to be tough in the first 45 minutes of play.
Leon came alive in the 56th minute. Peña took the ball on the wing and centered past two defenders to an unmarked Arce in the area. Arce fired past Saucedo who dove but could not reach the ball in time.
Two minutes later Leon broke the net once more. This time it was Arce who in the area crossed to Peña. “El Gullit” received the ball with three defenders on him and fired past Saucedo for the final 2-0.
The panzas verdes take the 2-0 advantage going into Sunday’s game at the Caliente stadium in Tijuana. Xolos need to score three to reach their first final in the Mexican league. If Leon advances, they will reach the finals and play for their fifth first division title.