TIJUANA - Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles defeated the LA Galaxy with a 4-2 scoreline (4-3 aggregate) in the Estadio Caliente and advance to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL).
Tijuana Xolos got things started quickly as they knew they came into the match with the one goal disadvantage. Only one minute of the match had gone by when Tijuana were claiming a penalty for a foul inside the box. Center referee did not give the call and Jaimen Ayovi was able to take advantage of the loose ball to put it into the net and give Tijuana the early goal to settle the nerves.
Just three minutes in the 4th minute on a Joe Corona free kick about 25 yards outside of the box the ball was sent in a form of a frontal cross, Cristian Pellerano tried to flick the ball on but was obstructed by a defender. Ayovi once again found the loose ball and placed a shot that bounced off of the cross bar.
The LA Galaxy were forced to break out of their defensive shell since they were now down on the scoreboard. The Xoloitzcuintles made them pay on a quick counterattack. Javier Guemez took the ball in midfield and sent a long pass to Ayovi who broke the offside trap and faced off against Galaxy goalkeeper Jaime Penedo. Penedo got to the ball but the bounced favored Ayovi who just had to tap the ball in to give Xolos the two goal lead in the 9th minute of the game.
With the two goal lead Club Tijuana decided to slow down the match and start passing the ball around making the visitors chase them all over the field. Javier Guemez who had the assist on the second goal decided to try his luck from about 25 yards out and ended up smacking the ball against the cross bar for the second time in the night.
In the 26th minute on another aerial pass from Guemez, Dario Benedetto went in strong and out-muscled Galaxy defender Leandro for the ball, and went one-on-one with the goalkeeper Penedeo to slot home the third goal of the night.
The home side took the three goal advantage to the break. But for the second half the visiting team came out just as strong and determined as Tijuana had in the first half. In the first minute of the second period Landon Donovan sent in a cross from a free kick to where Omar Gonzalez was able to lay it off for Robbie Keane to tap the ball into the net and pull the Galaxy closer.
LA Galaxy tried to push up the field looking for what would be the "winning" goal that would see them through to the semifinals of the CCL. Tijuana Xolos took to managing the clock and pace of the match.
In the 82nd minute Tijuana sealed their ticket to the next round when a long pass was played forward and Dario Benedetto was able to flick the ball with his head. Second half substitute Richard Ruiz vollyed the ball off of the bounce and placed it in the far lower corner.
The visitors did not give up hope and in a fast break away where Landon Donovan dribbled the ball down the middle. Donovan was able to slot the ball to Robbie Keane and the Irishman had a simple finish in front of Cirilo Saucedo to once again put the visitors within one goal with five minutes remaining.
Despite the late score and the five minutes of added time, Club Tijuana were able to hang on to the lead and are through to the semifinals of the CONCACAF Champions League.