TIJUANA – Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles hosted their first ever CONCACAF Champion’s League (CCL) at the Estadio Caliente and got a ---- against El Salvador champions Luis Angel Firpo.
The Xoloitzcuintles started out the match fast and aggressive; within 40 seconds of the opening kickoff midfielder Bruno Piceno had a long distance powerful low shot that forced the goalkeeper to make a diving safe.
The clearest goal scoring chance of the half came in the 3rd minute when Xolos’ central defender Alfredo Gonzalez-Tahuilan had a short distance shot that the goalkeeper managed to block after a corner kick.
After the initial onslaught the Salvadorians managed to settle down and take their defensive posture and were able to contain the Xolos attacks. Club Tijuana managed to keep a hold of the possession but were not able to break through the Firpo defense.
Same story was played in the second half, the Xoloitzcuintles looking and looking any way through the Luis A. Firpo defense while the Salvadorians defended with everything they had. Young American Paul Arriola was by far the most dangerous player for the home side.
In the 62nd Arriola dribbled past multiple defenders on the right side, got to the end line and sent in a low cross to where his countryman Greg Garza was at with a wide open goal. Garza had a shot that went well over the bar missing the golden opportunity to open the scoring.
In the 71st minute once again Arriola looked threatening; this time running up and pressuring and stealing the ball away from a defender. Arriola ran in on goal, but his shot went just wide of the target.
Xolos finally made their dominance pay in the 81st minute when in a Raul Enriquez corner kick Fidel Martinez header the ball towards the goal. Firpo goalkeeper got a hand on the ball but the ball slipped right through his hands and into the net.
With the win Club Tijuana are practically through to the next round, but not mathematically. Only a very improbable combination of results would eliminate the Xolos. The team will now travel to Chiapas where they’ll face Chiapas FC on Saturday in the local Liga Bancomer MX.