Eryc Castillo mistake against Pablo Aguilar on the Estadio Caliente pitch Tuesday night cost Tijuana .
The Tijuana Xolos striker didn’t move much after taking a knee to the back of the head. The Ecuadorian got the worst of a play .
That went on to become a key factor in a 2-1 elimination loss to Cruz Azul in the Copa MX playoffs.
Castillo recovered from the blow to his skull only to see the referee show him a red card. Castillo was sent off after referee Adonai Gonzalez called a foul in which Castillo appeared to hit Pablo Aguilar.
Tijuana was left with 10 men in a Round of 16 match that had Cruz Azul’s Edgar Mendez (34th minute)
And Martin Cauteruccio (58th) scoring after exposing the left side of the Tijuana defense.
The Xolos cut the lead in the 62nd minute thanks to an own goal by Cruz Azul’s Jose Madueña.
The own goal was clear but the red card on Castillo was argued by Xolos players as replays showed there was minimal or no contact with Aguilar on the play.
Tijuana continued to play its scheme trying to overcome Castillo’s ejection. But Cruz Azul, the first-place team in the regular league tournament, took advantage of the extra space.
It forced its pair of goals over Tijuana 20-year-old defender Osciel de la Cruz. Both Mendez and Cauteruccio dribbled up to de la Cruz and shot around him.
Both shots beat Tijuana goalkeeper Gibran Lajud. Mendez’s shot came off Lajud’s hands but it squeezed through just inside the right post.
Both teams used a mixture of regular starters and youth players as the clubs are balancing two competitions.
Tijuana reached the postseason as the No. 8 team while Cruz Azul was No. 9. The Mexico City team moves on to face second division side FC Juarez in the quarterfinals.
The Xolos are eliminated from the cup tournament that paired teams from the Mexican first and second division. Tijuana will focus on the Liga MX calendar. It will next travel to face Rayados de Monterrey Saturday at Estadio Bancomer BBVA in a Week 11 match.