EDGAR ZUNIGA - Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Club Tijuana had a dream debut in the Copa Libertadores with a hard-fought victory over Millonarios Fútbol Club in Bogota, Colombia.
Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona both got the start for the Xoloitzcuintles in a game that was decided by a goal in the 62nd minute by Richard Ruiz.
Millonarios - which featured Seattle Sounders FC forward Fredy Montero in its starting lineup - attacked from the start, trying to crack a Xolos defense that stymied any scoring opportunity.
In the 11th minute, Millonarios almost got on the board, but Xolos goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo was able to stop a pair of shots by Wason Renteria.
The rest of the first half consisted of Millonarios trying to find ways to score, but the club proved unable to do so against the stout Club Tijuana defense, which did well to weather the storm.
As the second half wore on, the Xolos finally began to generate their own attacking opportunities, and a goal in the 59th minute was negated due to an offside call.
Nevertheless, three minutes later, Castillo fired a centering pass that was tapped by Daniel Márquez to Richard Ruiz, who was all alone at the far post and chested the ball down and shot it into the net for the 1-0 lead.
In the 69th minute, Xolos manager Antonio Mohamed subbed out Corona for defender Joshua Ábrego in order to shore up the backline.
Five minutes into injury time, Millonarios was left with only 10 men when Román Torres got a second yellow card, but seconds later, the game was over.
The Xolos actually did double duty on Tuesday night. While the main squad was in Bogota making history in the team's first ever major international victory, the reserves played a friendly 3,487 miles to the north against a Los Angeles Galaxy squad made up of some starters and reserves.
On a cold, rainy and generally miserable night, the MLS champions easily crushed Club Tijuana 6-2 in front of an evenly split crowd.
After having gone absent from any league games this season, Greg Garza started the game for the Xolos but only played the first 45 minutes.