South America's biggest tournament will kick off for the 54th time in January, and Mexican champion Tijuana drew the reigning tournament and world club champion.Club Tijuana's first foray into the Copa Libertadores will be a challenging one.
The Mexican champion drew reigning Libertadores and FIFA Club World Cup champion Corinthians, Colombian champion Millonarios and Bolivian side San Jose in Friday's group stage draw for the tournament that kicks off next month. The group presents a daunting task for Los Xolos and their American contingent of Joe Corona, Edgar Castillo and Greg Garza, as the club looks to reach even greater heights after winning a domestic title following just 18 months of being in Mexico's top flight.
Corinthians, which beat Boca Juniors 3-1 on aggregate in last year's final, is coming off a 1-0 victory over Chelsea in the Club World Cup final earlier this month.
The other Mexican sides in the competition face a tough battle as well. Runner-up Toluca was drawn into a group with Boca Juniors, Ecuador's Barcelona, and Uruguay's Club Nacional.
Leon, fresh off signing former MLS Designated Players Rafa Marquez and Nery Castillo, will have to play its way into the group stage against Chilean side Deportes Iquique. Should Leon advance, it will enter a group with 10-time finalist and five-time champion Penarol, 1994 champion Velez Sarsfield and Ecuadorian side Emelec.
The winners of the first stage listed below will make up the remaining six places in the group stage. With the Confederations Cup being held in Brazil in June, the Copa Libertadores will have a break after the quarterfinal stage, resuming in July. Here are the results from Friday's draw:
Game 1 - Tigre (ARG) vs Dep. Anzoátegui (VEN)
Game 2 - Gremio (BRA) vs Liga de Quito (ECU)
Game 3 - Deportes Tolima (COL) vs U. César Vallejo (PER)
Game 4 - Olimpia (PAR) vs Defensor Sporting (URU)
Game 5 - Sao Paulo (BRA) vs Bolívar (BOL)
Game 6 - Deportes Iquique (CHI) vs León (MEX)
|Barcelona (Ecu)||Sporting Cristal (Per)||Arsenal (Arg)||Vélez Sársfield (Arg)|
|Nacional (Uru)||Libertad (Par)||The Strongest (Bol)||Peñarol (Uru)|
|Boca Juniors (Arg)||Palmeiras (Bra)||Atl. Mineiro (Bra)||Emelec (Ecu)|
|Toluca (Mex)||Match 1 winner||Match 5 winner||Match 6 winner|
|Corinthians (Bra)||Indep. Santa Fe (Col)||Real Garcilaso (Per)||Fluminense (Bra|
|San José (Bol||Cerro Porteño (Par)||Universidad (Chi)||Huachipato (Chi)|
|Millonarios (Col)||Real Garcilaso (Per)||Newell's (Arg)||Caracas (Ven)|
|Xolos de Tijuana (Mex)||Match 3 winner||Match 4 winner||Match 2 winner|