Action from the friendly between Club America (yellow) and Club Tijuana on December 28, 2013, at the StubHub Center in Carson, California, USA. (Photo courtesy of the StubHub Center)
CARSON, California – Cristian Pellerano scored twice and Club Tijuana rallied from a three-goal deficit in the second half to earn a 3-3 draw with Club America in a preseason friendly before 25,000 fans at StubHub Center.
A determined Juan Hernandez equalized for Xolos in the 82nd minute from three-yards out, stabbing home Herculez Gomez’s pass from inside the right-goal line.
The goal completed a remarkable comeback in an encounter that featured eager offensive performances and pitted new America head coach Antonio Mohamed against the side that he guided to the 2012 Apertura title.
In the seventh minute, Luis Gabriel Rey headed the Aguilas into a 1-0 lead from two-yards out. Paul Aguilar headed a diagonal free-kick from the left inside the six-yard box. Striker Raul Jimenez failed to connect with a header of his own, allowing the ball to bounce and an alert Rey seized the opportunity.
Jimenez netted the first of his two goals in the 30th minute. A clever feed from Rubens Sambueza was corralled by the Mexican international just beyond the midfield line and he embarked on a long-distance run that culminated in a calmly taken effort from 12-yards out.
The 22-year-old made it 3-0 seven minutes into the second half, placing a penalty to the left of goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo, who dived the wrong way.
Six minutes later, the Xolos got on the scoreboard as Pellerano converted from the spot.
The Argentine completed his brace in the 62nd minute, tapping into an empty net from two yards after America goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez brilliantly saved Fernando Arce's 8-yard effort.
With eight minutes left in regulation, Hernandez put an emphatic punctuation mark on the robust scoreline.
Club Tijuana will return to the same venue next year, when it meets the LA Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals.
NOTES: Club Tijuana opens its 2014 Liga MX Clausura schedule at Atlas on January 4, while Club America hosts Tigres the same day … Antonio Mohamed was named Club America head coach on December 17, replacing new full-time Mexico manager Miguel Herrera.