American Exports: Joe Corona stars as Club Tijuana top Corinthians in Copa Libertadores

Club Tijuana

Photo Credit: 
Mexsport

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – The Club Tijuana fairytale reached new heights on Wednesday as Xolos earned a historic 1-0 Copa Libertadores victory over reigning holders and Club World Cup champions Corinthians.

US international Joe Corona started and went the full 90 minutes for Tijuana, who now have nine points from their first three games in their debut season in the continental competition and are yet to concede a goal.

Corona looked at ease against the São Paulo giants on the left of a midfield three, shifting the ball around tidily and getting stuck into the reigning Libertadores champions. The 22-year-old was not out of his depth against a team that defeated European champions Chelsea in December to be crowned world champions.

Texan Greg Garza made his Libertadores debut when he came on in the 85th minute for Ecuadoran Fidel Martínez to sure up the game for Xolos.

The victory means Tijuana lead Group 5 by five points over Corinthians, with three games left and the top two of the four team group going through to the Round of 16.

Wednesday's Copa MX action saw Michael Orozco Fiscal go 90 for Puebla in their 3-0 home loss to Pumas UNAM. On Tuesday, Ventura Alvarado continued his rise up the ranks of Club América. going 90 in his club’s 1-0 home loss to Toros Neza.

DaMarcus Beasley and Orozco Fiscal’s Puebla will play Pachuca in the quarterfinals of the competition, while Alvarado’s Águilas face Estudiantes Tecos. The ties will be played next week.

Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at tom.marshall.mex@gmail.com.