Tijuana Xolos 3-1 Toluca: The Caliente is too hot for the devil.

Big important step towards playoffs for Xolos.

TIJUANA - Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente took an important step towards playoff qualification by defeating the second place Toluca on Friday night at the Estadio Caliente. Goals from Dario Benedetto, Javier Guemez, and Cristian Pellerano led the team to another win at home. Big Cirilo Saucedo mistake had given Toluca a momentarily 1-1 tie.

Xolos manager Cesar Farias knew that he needed the win in this match in order to keep realistic playoff hopes alive and sent the strongest possible starting elven without worrying about Wednesday night's CONCACAF Champions League match in Mexico City against Cruz Azul.

Tijuana started controlling the possession of the ball and slowly building up attacks, while the visiting Toluca sat in their back field absorbing the pressure. Argentine forward Dario Benedetto was the most dangerous weapon going forward for the Xolos.

In the 27th minute Bendetto's killer instinct would pay dividends for Tijuana as he was able to get up and header a cross that came in from the left by Fidel Martinez.

Three minutes later Club Tijuana goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo literally gave the visiting Toluca the equalizer. Jorge Sartiaguin had a rather weak shot from about 30 yards, Saucedo missed judged the bounce on the ball and allowed it to slip by him into the net.

The fans at the Esatio Caliente did not appreciate the lack in concentration from their goalkeeper and showed their frustrations every time the ball came Saucedo's way by screaming "GOOOALLL".

The went into halftime all level. For the second half Xoloitzcuintles kept up their game plan of controlling the possession and pressuring the away goal for the go-ahead goal.

It only took eleven minutes into the second half for the home side to find that go-ahead goal. Holding midfielder Javier Guemez came in and smashed the ball into the low corner of the goal in the 56th minute. Dario Benedetto had sent in a cross to the center of the box which was poorly cleared by the Toluca defense. Guemez came in and had a first time shot to re-give Xolos the lead.

Following the goal Guemez ran the length of field to go hug gialkeeper Cirilo Saucedo in a show of support following the relentless pressure from the home fans.

Man of the match candidate Dario Benedetto nearly scored his brace in the 68th minute. He held and timed his run into space perfectly to avoid the offside. A through ball has played to him and he ran and met the ball with a first time chip shot the went over the goalkeeper's head. Optical illusion made it seem it was heading into the back of the net, but the ball ended up bouncing off the post.

Four minutes later American midfielder Joe Corona combined well with Benedetto and enter the box. Corona received a foul by the Toluca defense as a last resort to stopping the Southern California native. Center referee had no choice but to award the penalty. Cristian Pellerano stepped up and converted the penalty to give Xolos the 3-1 lead.

Late in the game Pellerano made a run deep up the field and fell to the side in what seems like a serious injury because of the emotions the midfielder was displaying.

The Xoloitzcuintles will now focus on the return leg of the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals against Cruz Azul where they have a 1-0 lead from the first leg. Then they will travel to Monterrey to face Tigres UANL in week 15 action of Liga MX.

Find all Tijuana Xolos news in English here.

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