American Exports: Castillo stars in Tijuana's historic Libertadores win
PUEBLA, Mexico – Edgar Castillo provided an assist for the deciding goal and put in sterling performance as Club Tijuana overcame Colombian champions Millonarios 1-0 in their Copa Libertadores debut on Tuesday.
Castillo swung in a cross from the left-hand side of the pitch which Richard Ruiz converted in the 62nd minute to hand Xolos a vital away in Bogotá in their first-ever Libertadores contest.
The New Mexico native was heavily involved all game for Tijuana on the left flank, providing an outlet as his team came under pressure. Castillo also made some vital interceptions and tackles at the other end of the pitch and received man-of-the-match honors from Fox Deportes following the game.
Like Castillo and Xolos, it was also Joe Corona’s first ever appearance in the Libertadores. The San Diegan started in a slightly more advanced central role than usual off striker Duvier Riascos, playing some tidy soccer without the penetration he would’ve liked.
He fought hard when his team didn’t have the ball but should’ve done better in the 40th when he over-hit a pass that would’ve sent Riascos clear. The 22-year-old was brought off for a defender in the 69th as coach Antonio Mohamed looked to hold on to the victory.
Former Seattle Sounders star Fredy Montero was bright and caused Tijuana some problems, almost giving Millonarios the lead in the 12th with an overhead kick that Xolos ‘keeper Cirilo Saucedo scrambled to keep out.
Montero also went close with a right foot shot from outside the area in the 55th, but the away victory sets up Tijuana very nicely in Group 1, which also features defending champs Corinthians, from Brazil, and Bolivia’s San José.
In addition to Montero, ex-MLSers Rafael Robayo (Chicago Fire) and Jorge Perlaza (Portland Timbers, Philadelphia Union) also featured for Millonarios.