TIJUANA - Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente defeat Mexican giants Cruz Azul for the first time in team history during their first leg match of the 2013/14 CONCACAF Champions League (CCL) semifinals. Argentine midfielder Cristian Pellerano converted a penalty kick in the second half to give the Xolos the 1-0 win.
The Xoloitzcuintles started out controlling the ball in the opening minutes of the game, but the visitors looked dangerous in the counterattacks especially with the speed down the wing with from Joao Rojas.
Tijuana had their first cleat goal scoring opportunity in the 17th minute when a lobbed pass from the midfield found Fidel Martinez in the center of the box. Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jesus Corona came out charging for the ball. Both Corona and Martinez missed the 50-50 ball and the rebound fell for Fernando Arce who had to take the quick shot that sailed over the cross bar.
In the 25th Dario Benedetto has a volley shot from just outside of the 16 yard box after a Joe Corona cross.
Cruz Azul tried to counterattack throughout the first half, but they were mostly contained by Javier Gandolfi and Hernan Pellerano. However in the 41st minute the visitors though they took the lead when Mauro Formica received a long pass, controlled and shot low and to the bottom corner of Cirilo Saucedo's goal. But the assistant referee considered that the Cruz Azul forward used his hand to control the ball.
The match went into the break with the scoreboard blank.
For the second half the tight midfield battle continued. Both team's strikers Mariano Pavone (Cruz Azul) and Dario Benedetto (Xolos) dropped back deep into their own fields to help out in defensive duties. Tijuana kept controlling the ball, but without creating much danger.
A pair of free kicks shots from Bendetto and Arce was the closest Tijuana got in the second half before center referee award the home side a penalty kick for a foul on Dario Benedetto. Leading Xolos goal scorer Cristian Pellerano stepped up and converted the penalty to give Tijuana the 1-0 lead.
Tijuana Xolos will now host second place Toluca on Friday night in week 14 action of LIGA Bancomer MX and then travel to Mexico City where next Wednesday they'll face this Cruz Azul side in the second leg of this CCL semifinal.