TIJUANA, CA.- Just as the referee was about to blow the final whistle, just as the fans were getting ready to leave, right at the end, Fidel Martinez scored the winning goal. Xolos of Tijuana finalize group play in the Copa Libertadores with a 1-0 win over Millonarios.
During the first half Xolos was the team that took hold of the ball and controlled the possession. But the possession did not translate into clear goal scoring opportunities. The Colombian squad prioritized a well organized defense, and looked to cut down the spaces in front of their goal. They did break out of their shell a few times during that first half, but did not cause any worries on back-up goalkeeper Adrian Zaermaño.
It was Greg Garza who was the first one close to opening the scoring in the eleventh minute. The US International dribbled up the field from his left back position and took a long distance shot. The ball gave an extremely dangerous bounce on the artificial turf. The Colombian goalkeeper Delgado did just enough to push the ball out to a corner kick.
A minute later Fidel Martinez could not completely reach the ball after it was flicked on in a corner kick.
The only real chance Millonarios had was out of a corner kick. Vazquez had a clear header all alone on goal. But the ball went straight to the hands of Zermeño.
In the 36th minute central defender Alfredo Gonzalez-Tahuilan had a chance to shot on goal right in front of the goalkeeper after a corner kick. But instead of shooting on goal Gonzalez-Tahuilan opted for passing it to the center where the defenders were able to clear it away.
Raul Enriquez in the 39th minute had the most dangerous chance; he found himself alone in the box and his shot was blocked. The deflection seemed like it was going to sail over the keeper's head, but Delgado backpedal and made a huge diving save to prevent the goal.
Antonio Mohamed decided to send in some spark for the second half. He took out defensive midfielder Leandro Agusto and sent in Duvier Riascos.
In the opening minutes of the second half the Colombian side got a hold of the ball and ended a a couple plays with long distance shots. This was due to the fact that the Xolos midfield needed to readjust after Leandro's departure.
Once the Tijuana team figured out their new positions the first half script stated to take place once again. Xolos had the majority of the possession but unable to creat much danger on the Millonarios goal. Millonarios went into a well organized defensive shell were they would allow Xolos to dribble up to three quarters of the field and then take away any spaces from then on.
Meanwhile in the group's other game between Corinthians and San Jose the brazilians had taken a two goal lead over the Bolivians. This would force Xolos to win by five goals if they wanted to finish in first place of the group.
There was three minutes of added time by Paraguayan referee Carlos Amarilla. And right as everyone had given up hope for goals, Fidel Martinez appeared all alone in the box and in front of the goalkeeper sent the ball into the back of the net in minute 92:58. The only mistake that the Millonarios defense had done all game long, they all stood completely still has Richard Ruiz frontal cross came in and Martinez controlled all alone.
With the goal scoring play, the final whistle blew. Xolos finish in second place of group five with 13 points; same amount of points as Corithians but a worse goal difference.
Xolos will now have to wait for the rest of the groups in the Copa Libertadores to finish play to see who their opponents will be in the round of 16.