The penultimate round of group games in the Copa Libertadores 2008 was played out to a tango rhythm as Argentinian quartet Estudiantes, Lanus, San Lorenzo and River Plate danced their way into the knockout stages. Santos and America will be lining up alongside them after qualifying in far less comfortable fashion. Here to round up the latest news from Latin America's number one club tournament is FIFA.com.
Game of the week
Santos 2-1 Cucuta Deportivo
Goals: Kleber Pereira 69, Mariano Tripodi 89 (Santos); Carlos Henry 23, (Cucuta)
When news filtered through that Group 6 rivals Guadalajara had gone 3-0 up in Bolivia, Santos were losing to Cucuta and heading out of the Copa Libertadores. Needing nothing less than a win to qualify, the Brazilians went for broke. Emerson Leao's men produced more in the way of perspiration than inspiration, but still managed to pin the Colombians back into their own half. After Kleber had pulled them level, Mariano Tripodi conjured up a last-gasp winner to seal their ticket to the next round, breaking the hearts of the Mexicans, whose comfortable 3-0 win in San Jose was all in vain.
Surprise of the week
Real Potosi 5-1 Cruzeiro
Goals: Miguel Loaiza 4, Pablo Pintos 12 & 51, Isidro Candia 67, Luis Gatti Ribeiro 87 (Real Potosi); Marcelo Moreno 30 (Cruzeiro)
While Real Potosi were already out and Cruzeiro had made sure of first place in Group 1, few would have predicted the Bolivians winning so impressively. "Real Potosi find a remedy from the other side of the grave," was how local daily La Prensa described their emphatic consolation win.
It was a week that began and ended well for Argentina's representatives. On Tuesday, Estudiantes and Lanus both triumphed to finish first and second respectively in Group 2. The former were not at their best against Deportivo Cuenca but still rode out comfortable 2-0 winners. As for Los Granates, there were encouraging signs of a return to the elegant play that saw them to domestic championship glory last year. Even so, also-rans Danubio made them work hard for their 2-1 win.
The following day saw San Lorenzo take to the stage. Needing nothing less than three points at home to Caracas to progress, El Ciclón ran out comfortable 3-0 winners. A Vicente Rosales own goal coupled with strikes from Gonzalo Bergessio and Andres Silvera helped them clinch second place in the section, and also end a run of four consecutive appearances in the Libertadores without reaching the knockout rounds.
And on Thursday River Plate completed an Argentinian clean sweep, turning in a majestic performance to down San Martin 5-0. Sebastian Abreu was on target three times and Radamel Falcao and Andres Rios chipped in with a goal apiece as the Buenos Aires giants claimed top spot in Group 5.
Taking second place behind them were America. The Mexicans were indebted to a mesmerising display from goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who ensured they only lost 2-0 at Universidad Catolica in Santiago. Although both sides finished level on points and goal difference, the fortunate Águilas went through by virtue of having scored more goals.
The curtain also came down on Group 8 this week, with Fluminense emerging 1-0 victors in the top-of-the-table clash with LDU, the Ecuadorians having now lost seven games out of seven on Brazilian soil. At the other end of the section, Arsenal took on Libertad in Paraguay in the battle of the also-rans, with the men from Sarandi winning 2-1 to finish third, just a point behind LDU.
Player of the week
River Plate striker Sebastian Abreu.The Uruguayan forward bagged his first hat-trick for Los Millonarios to take his tournament tally to six, just one behind the leading marksman, Cruzeiro's Bolivian goal-getter Marcelo Moreno.
0:The number of defeats suffered by Lanus, the only new boys to reach the last 16. Despite their unique unbeaten status, the Argentinians could only finish second in their section.
What they said
"We played well and we won convincingly but we knew we had to rely on other results. And unfortunately for us things didn't go our way. Why have we gone out? Because of all the points we dropped in Guadalajara." Ramon Morales laments Chivas' elimination despite a win in Bolivia.
This week's results;
Tuesday 15 April
Danubio (URU) 1-2 Lanus (ARG)
Estudiantes (ARG) 2-0 Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)
Wednesday 16 April
Real Potosi (BOL) 5-1 Cruzeiro (BRA)
San Lorenzo (ARG) 3-0 Caracas (VEN)
San Jose (BOL) 0-3 Guadalajara (MEX)
Santos (BRA) 2-1 Cucuta Deportivo (COL)
Libertad (PAR) 1-2 Arsenal (ARG)
Thursday 17 April
Universidad Catolica (CHI) 2-0 CF America (MEX)
River Plate (ARG) 5-0 San Martin (PER)
Fluminense (BRA) 1-0 LDU (ECU)