A new American has joined the ranks of those plying their trade in the Mexican Primera División.
Joe Corona, the 20-year-old midfielder from Southern California, played a huge part in helping Apertura 2010 champs Club Tijuana top Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Clausura 2011 winners Irapuato, 2-1, in the Liga de Ascenso promotion playoff.
After a scoreless tie in the first leg of the aggregate-goals series, the second match was up for grabs for both los Xoloitzcuintles and los Freseros at Tijuana's Estadio Caliente. However, Corona made sure to tilt the series in his team’s favor when, in the 27th minute, he put a header into the net to give his team the lead.
In the 31st minute, Mauro Gerk, who got the assist in Corona’s goal, scored one of his own to give the home side a 2-0 lead. Irapuato cut that lead in half five minute later, when Tijuana defender Alejandro Molina stuck the ball in his own net.
Xolos held on to the lead thanks to a great defensive effort, securing the win and their first-ever promotion to the top flight in their short four-year history.
Over in Colombia’s Liga Postobón, goalkeeper Diego Restrepo was on the bench as América de Cali fell 3-2 against Deportes Tolima in the final match of the regular season.
Los Diablos Rojos needed a win to jump into the top eight to advance to the playoffs. They put up a valiant effort, tying the match at 2-2 with two minutes remaining, but conceded a goal in the 90th minute for the loss, ruling them out of the big dance.
Next door in Peru, midfielder Diego Chavarri missed out on Sporting Cristal’s match as los Celestes upped their winless streak to nine with a 3-0 loss at Sport Huancayo in the Descentralizado 2011 campaign.
Sporting now find themselves in 14th place, two spots above the league’s cellar at the halfway mark of the season.