TIJUANA, BC.- Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente achieved their third victory in the Copa Bridgestone Libertadores in as many games. This time their victim was none other than reigning FIFA Club World Cup Champion as well as reigning Copa Libertadores champions Corinthians of Brazil.
The Xolos now sit comfortable in first place of group five with nine points out of three games. While Corinthians remain right behind the Mexicans with four points. Millonarios of Colombia and San Jose of Bolivia round out the rest of group five with three points and one point respectfully.
A tough battle was expected from this game, as both teams would be gunning for the three points. And it didnt take long to get the actions going, Fidel Martinez had the first goal scoring opportunity of the match in the second minute of play but his shot was blocked off for a corner kick.
It would take the Brazilians about 15 minutes to settle down and get use to the artificial turf at the Estadio Caliente. But once they did they started to do what Brazilians do best; play football. Corinthians would find the back of the net twice in the first half, but both times Paulinho was flagged for offsides.
With Corinthians now attacking as well, Xolos had some space to take advantage of. And they nearly did; U.S. international Joe Corona fed a through ball to Colombian striker Duvier Riascos who was now one on one with the Brazilian goalkeeper. Riascos tried to chip the ball over the keeper but it went too high.
After that the game became a midfield war. Many fouls were committed on both side, and not many more goal scoring opportunities. 0-0 was the score at the break.
For the second half the same midfield battle continued, neither team would give an inch. Pablo Guerrero of Corinthians had the first big chance of the second half when in the 59th he dribbled past two Xolos defenders and had a low powerful shot that Cirilo Saucedo has able to block.
Xolos answered right back on the very next play with a long range shot by Cristian Pellerano that the goalkeeper Cassio was to save with a diving block.
Five minutes later the Estadio Caliente erupted in passion when Captain Javier Gandolfi was able to push in the ball into the net with his back heal to give the Xolos the lead. Fernando Arce had taken a free kick from the left side; Pablo Aguilar beat the keeper to the ball and flicked in a cross with his head. After several rebounds Gandolfi was able to push in the ball.
After the goal Corinthians went all out attack in search of an equalizing goal. All three of their substitutions were made after the Xolos goal, and all three were attack minded. But the Brazilians quickly hit the big defensive wall of Tijuana and were not able to cause any danger on Cirilo Saucedos goal.
The Xoloitzcuitles will now host Queretaro in the 10th week of Liga MX on Saturday, and then travel to Sao Paulo to face Corinthians once again, next Wednesday night.