TIJUANA, Mexico – Tijuana boosted its playoff hopes by notching a 2-1 come-from-behind home victory over Leon in Mexican soccer league 16th-round action, which continues on Saturday when several teams with postseason hopes take the field.
With the Xolos’ sixth win of the Apertura season, they moved into 10th place and are now tied with ninth-placed Atlas on points (21), although the Guadalajara club has the advantage in terms of goal differential.
The top eight teams advance to the playoffs, which get underway on Nov. 22.
Chile’s Juan Francisco Cornejo put Leon on top in the 17th minute of Friday night’s game at Estadio Caliente in this northwestern city, but Argentine Victor Malcorra leveled the match in minute 78 by converting a penalty and just one minute later countryman Juan Martin Lucero scored the game winner.
Tijuana later had a chance to add an insurance goal, but Argentine Gustavo Bou failed to convert a penalty try.
Leon is now in fourth place with 26 points after its sixth loss of the Apertura season and soon could be leapfrogged by a pair of teams: fifth-placed America (26 points), which squares off on Saturday against Puebla; and sixth-placed Necaxa (24 points), which takes on second-placed Tigres UANL on Sunday.
At the start of the penultimate round of Liga MX Apertura play on Friday, Chile’s Felipe Mora scored the winning goal in an important 2-1 away victory for Cruz Azul over third-placed Morelia. Cruz Azul (24 points) moved up to seventh with the win and greatly improved its playoff hopes.
In Saturday Mexican soccer action, 12th-placed Lobos BUAP will take on league-leading Monterrey, 11th-placed Pachuca squares off against lowly Queretaro, America plays Puebla and 14th-placed Guadalajara meets crosstown rival Atlas in the Clasico Tapatio.
The 16th round will then continue on Sunday, with last-placed Pumas UNAM taking on 13th-placed Santos Laguna, 16th-placed Veracruz (already relegated to the second division under Mexico’s complicated relegation system) locking horns with eighth-placed Toluca and Necaxa taking on Tigres UANL, which already has qualified for the playoffs.