Javier Torrente’s Leon scored twice in the second half to reach the Liga MX semifinals at the expense of a heroic Xolos de Tijuana side.
Leon thought they had done enough to eliminate Xolos de Tijuana at the Nou Camp thanks to a three goal advantage in the first leg.
But Dayro Moreno struck a 13th minute penalty to cut the deficit to two.
Despite the goal, the Estadio Caliente fell silent when Juninho was sent off for the hosts, leaving Tijuana down to ten men and needing two goals gain the upper-hand on the tie.
A ten-man Tijuana then broke forward well and were rewarded for their ambition as Yasser Corona pulled Miguel Herrera’s side within one.
Moments later, Guido Rodriguez completed the incredulous comeback by dragging a shot past William Yarbrough to put things at 3-3.
Tijuana were left with the task of defending the score for the remainder of the match, and the first 35 minutes passed without incident. It was after 80 minutes that substitute Maxi Moralez used his fresh legs to pick out Mauro Boselli, who headed home the go-ahead goal for Leon.
The away goal effectively sealed the tie in Leon’s favor, and Luis Montes added a second moments later for the final 5-3 aggregate scoreline.
Leon produced one of their best performances of the season to take complete control of their Liguilla quarterfinal tie with a superb 3-0 win over Xolos de Tijuana.
The Panzas Verdes made light of their eighth-place regular season finish, and twice came close to grabbing the breakthrough in the early minutes of the match.
It didn’t take long for their dominance to pay dividends, and in the 12th minute, Mauro Boselli headed home an Elias Hernandez cross to give Leon the lead.
Tijuana weren’t even close to weathering the storm before they were down 2-0 on the scoreline. An Elias Hernandez corner was headed down for Fernando Navarro, who made no mistake from close range to double the hosts’ lead.
The first half was as a good Leon have played all season under new coach Javier Torrente, and it was by then no surprise Tijuana were caught out again in the second period. Elias Hernandez laid off a perfect free-kick for the incoming German Cano to turn in for the 3-0.
Xolos de Tijuana responded but never came close to troubling William Yarbrough as Leon earned the first big surprise of the Liguilla.
Both sides will meet again at the Estadio Caliente on Saturday for the return leg where Xolos will need to score three goals to have any chance of progressing to the semifinals.
Veracruz claimed their first win after eight straight league losses with a 2-1 victory over Xolos de Tijuana at the Estadio Luis “Pirata” Fuente.
Agustin Vuletich put the hosts in front after only seven minutes when he tapped home a Julio Furch cross.
Dayro Moreno started to make a nuisance of himself, and he pulled Tijuana leveled in the 37th minute, turning in a Aviles Hurtado through ball. The goal lifted Dayro Moreno on top of the scorers table with 11 goals scored this season.
In the second half, Xolos de Tijuana made a bight start, but Veracruz appeared to grow into the game after the visitors’ initial dominance.
When it looked like the game was headed to a 1-1 stalemate, Michael Orozco deflected in a late Veracruz corner as the hosts escaped with an unlikely victory.
With the result, Tijuana missed the opportunity clinch first place heading into the Liguilla and will now await to see who they play in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, Veracruz end the season in the penultimate position with 12 points from 17 matches.
Tigres handed Xolos de Tijuana their first home defeat of the season as Ricardo “Tuca” Ferretti’s sealed a place in the 2016 Apertura Liguilla with a 1-0 win at the Estadio Caliente.
The visitors started brightly and took a first half lead when Lucas Zelarayan stroked home a pass from Damian Alvarez. The goal was only Tijuana’s second goal conceded at home all season.
Milton Caraglio brought a comfortable save from goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman before the break as Xolos de Tijuana looked for an equalizer.
After the interval, Guido Rodriguez came closest when he struck the post from a right footed shot from outside the box.
Tigres barely threatened, with Tuca lining up with ten players at the back.
Xolos, though, were unable to take advantage, and at the end, the regiomontanos held on to seal their place in the Liguilla.
Next, after the international break, Xolos de Tijuana will look to finish top of the table when they take on struggling Veracruz, while Tigres will close out the season against Queretaro.
Xolos de Tijuana left it late to seal a 2-0 win over last-place Chiapas and inch closer to sealing a place in the Liguilla.
Tijuana broke the deadlock after just eight minutes with Milton Caraglio beating his defender from Gabriel Hauche’s cross to give the hosts the lead.
As the minutes passed, Chiapas got more aggressive. Dieter Villalpando missed a golden opportunity to level the score at the break when he sent a right-footed shot wide of Federico Vilar’s goal.
In the second half, Chiapas again coped admirably well but failed to create any clear chances.
Jaguares’ hopes of getting something out of the game all but vanished in the 81st minute when a Federico Crivelli howler allowed Dayro Moreno to score his tenth goal of the season.
The result keeps Xolos de Tijuana unbeaten at the Estadio Caliente this season and virtually qualifies them to the Liguilla.
Xolos next will visit Toluca in action of Week 15 of Liga MX, while Chiapas will look to bounce back at home against Queretaro.