What seemed like an upset in the making during the Bridgestone Copa Libertadores tournament turned into a nightmare for Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente Thursday night as they wasted a 2-0 lead in the final minutes of the game.
After dominating Club Atletico Mineiro of Brazil in the first half and with the lead, it appeared that a victory and a solid chance of advancing to the semifinals of the championship tournament were possible. Forward Duvier Riascos had scored once in the first half, as did Fidel Martinez in the second. All the Xolos had to to do was wait out the clock and leave Tijuana with a victory.
But the inevitable occurred in the following minutes as Mineiro applied more pressure, knowing they needed a visitors goal to remain alive in this series. In a game that brought Ronaldinho to Tijuana for the first time, he began connecting more with his forwards and the squad eventually earned a corner kick in the 61st minute. That would lead to a goal by Diego Tardelli's feet who beat goalkeeper Cirilo Saucedo with a shot to the back of the net.
From this moment on Tijuana lost control of the game and Mineiro began creating more opportunities. In another defensive misfortune substitute Luan seize his last minute chance and gave his team the 2-2 draw.
The Xolos now need to recuperate, as well as play a perfect game in Belo Horizonte next Thursday. To advance they need to win or, if they tie, score at least two goals to play overtime. Winning by three goals or more advance them to the semifinals outright.
"We made some mistakes. I am sad because of the result," said coach Antonio Mohamed. "This could have been a 3-0 or a 4-1 game."