By IVES GALARCEP
Tiny Club Tijuana made history last year by winning the Mexican League title in surprising fashion, but their accomplishment on Tuesday evening in Brazil may be just as impressive.
The Xolos beat Brazilian side Palmeiras, 2-1, in the second leg of their Copa Libertadores Round of 16 series, booking a place in the quarterfinals in the process. The victory was just the fourth by a Mexican club in Brazil in the history of the competition.
U.S. Men’s National Team members Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo both started for Club Tijuana in a match attended by U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. The German boss was treated to an impressive performance by the Xolos in what was a contentious and very physical affair that saw a dozen cards issued and countless hard fouls.
Corona played a part in the opening goal, starting the passing sequence in the penalty area that culminated in a Duvier Riascos shot that was spilled by Palmeiras goalkeeper Bruno for the opening goal.
The Xolos took control in the second half when Fernando Arce belted a volley from the top of the penalty arc to make the score 2-0, and leave Palmeiras needing three goals to survive.
The Brazilians could only manage a penalty before bowing out of the competition.
Club Tijuana will next face top seed Atletico Mineiro, led by Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho, in a two-leg quarterfinal to be played later in the month. That series will force Corona and Castillo to miss the upcoming U.S. Men’s National Team camp, but considering Klinsmann was in Sao Paulo for Tuesday’s match, it is safe to say their standing with the national team is secure.
Here are the match highlights:
What did you think of the match? Impressed with Club Tijuana’s ability to come away with a result in a hostile environment? Hoping Corona and Castillo play a role in this summer’s World Cup qualifiers?
Share your thoughts below.