American Exports: Greg Garza starts as Tijuana close Libertadores group stage with dramatic win

GUADALAJARA, Mexico – Their spot in the knockout stages already secure, Club Tijuana ended the group phase of the Copa Libertadores with a 1-0 victory over Colombian champions Millonarios on Wednesday night, with Greg Garza starting his first game in the continental competition.

The 21-year-old left back went the full 90 minutes in Estadio Caliente, going close to opening the scoring in the 12th minute when he cut inside onto his right and struck a low shot that Millonarios ‘keeper Luis Delgado scrambling to tip wide.

Garza, who missed a large chunk of the first part of the season through injury, was busy at both ends of the pitch in a tidy, confident performance.

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Fellow Americans Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo were rested, with Tijuana already through to the Round of 16 and a crucial Liga MX game against Cruz Azul awaiting on Saturday.

Xolos snatched the victory through a goal deep into injury time from Fidel Martínez and the three points means Tijuana finish in second position in Group 5, behind Club World Cup champions Corinthians only on goal difference.

The border club will find out their Round of 16 opponents next Thursday, April 18, after all the games in the group stage are complete. Tijuana will play one of the clubs that finish first in their group.

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