TIJUANA, BC.- Club Tijuana was unable to make their home field advantage count as they draw 0-0 against Brazilian side Palmeiras in the opening leg of the round of 16 in the Copa Libertadores. The only positive from this first leg was that Xolos did not concede any away goals to Palmeiras.
The Xolos seemed a little nervous at kick off time, because during the opening minutes it was the Brazilians who controlled the ball. They took shots that Saucedo easily controlled, looked for crosses that either Saucedo or the defenders were able to cut down, and they even had a legitimate penalty claim in the eighth minute when Wesley was stepped on by Javier Gandolfi inside the box. But the Brazilian exaggerated the fall and was told to play on by the center referee.
The Xoloitzcuitles were able to shake off the initial pressure around the 15th minute. In the 17th minute Alfredo Moreno nearly put in Duvier Riascos with a through ball that was just cut down by the Palmeiras defense.
In the 25th minute Fidel Martinez found a bouncing ball just outside the box, but his shot ended up going wide. It was at this time that the home side started to dominate the game.
One minute later in the 25th Duvier Riascos sent in a long cross that the goalkeeper Bruno did not come out to cut down. Martinez was there to push in the ball, but Ayrton was there half a second before Martinez to clear the ball.
Fernando Arce was close to scoring in the 35th minute when he took a direct shot from a free kick. Bruno made a huge save and sent the ball to a corner kick.
Before half time Xolos had two more goal scoring opportunities; in the 43rd minute Alfredo Moreno was one on one against the goalkeeper following a Joe Corona through ball pass. Moreno sent his shot way to high and the opportunity was gone. In the final play of the half Riascos got his head on a Fernando Arce free kick. He had his back to the goal but manage to turn his head and send the ball towards the goal, but it ended up hitting the post. Both teams went to the break scoreless.
For the second half the Xoloitzcuitles once again took a few minutes to establish their dominance. The first few minutes even and very hard fought. In the 49th minute Kleber had an open shot from the right side of the box, but the ball went well wide. And in the 53rd minute Javier Gandolfi was obligated to commit a harsh foul to cut down a Palmeiras attack.
Xolos once again shock off the initial Brazilian pressure and began to dominate the game. In 62nd minute second half substitute Richard Ruiz had a curling shot that was heading to the back of the net, but once again Bruno got his hands on it to push it out.
Once again the Palmerias keeper took the spotlight in the 68th minute when he made a huge diving safe off of a Riascos shot.
The Xoloitzcuitles kept dominating possession, but there wasn’t anymore real clear goal scoring opportunities. Tijuana fail to take advantage of home field advantage and now must look for a win in Sao Sao Paulo, Brazil.