In the penultimate week of action in the group phase of the Copa Libertadores 2010, Corinthians, Cruzeiro, Libertad, Universidad de Chile and Velez Sarsfield all made sure of their places in the last 16. Already waiting for them there are Alianza Lima and the Mexican duo of Guadalajara and San Luis.
Yet, with the final 12 group games to come next week, there is still much to be decided. Only four sides have so far been confirmed as group winners, and the race to finish as one of the six best second-placed teams is set to go down to the wire. FIFA.com rounds up the latest news from Latin America’s premier club competition.
Game of the week
Blooming 1-2 Libertad
Goals: Julio Hurtado 28 (Blooming); Adalberto Roman 38, Rodolfo Gamarra 52 (Libertad)
Libertad advanced to the next round as Group 4 winners following this timely triumph in Bolivia, which ended a run of three consecutive draws. Fielding a side packed with young talents, among them the nimble Gamarra, the Paraguayans had to come from behind to collect the points. They finished the section two clear of Universitario, who made sure of second place following a gritty goalless draw with Lanus in Buenos Aires.
Surprise of the week
Emelec 0-0 Internacional
Just when they seemed to have got back to winning ways, Jorge Fossati’s Inter contrived to stumble again, dropping two precious points against an Emelec side that had lost every one of its previous four games in the section. The slip-up heaps the pressure back on the Brazilians, who now need to win their final game at home to Group 5 leaders Deportivo Quito to make sure of a place in the next round. With the final of the second phase of the Campeonato Gaucho also coming up, O Colorado have a decisive few days ahead of them.
Although some way below their best, Corinthians still had too much for Racing Montevideo on Thursday, strolling to a 2-0 win in the Uruguayan capital to secure first place in Group 1. Still unbeaten in the competition, the Brazilians have an excellent chance of finishing the group phase with the best record of all the qualifiers.
With one round of games remaining in Group 5, there is still everything to play for. Deportivo Quito strengthened their position at the summit of the section with a 2-1 home win over CA Cerro. A draw away to Internacional next week will be enough for them to go through as group winners.
Group 7 came to a conclusion this week, with Velez Sarsfield topping the pool on 13 points. The Argentinians eased to a 4-0 defeat of Deportivo Italia, two of the goals coming from Hernan Lopez. Finishing second behind them were Cruzeiro, who also checked into the next round after taking their points tally to 11 with a 1-1 draw away to Colo-Colo in Santiago.
Another team to emerge as section winners this week were Universidad de Chile, who hold an impregnable four-point lead over Flamengo in Group 8 thanks to a 3-1 victory over Caracas in Venezuela. The reigning Brazilian champions went down 2-0 at Universidad Catolica and must win their final game at home to the Venezuelans to have any chance of progressing.
Player of the week
The talented 21-year-old began the competition on the bench but has earned his place in a star-studded side. Flourishing alongside his mentor Ronaldo, he has had a big hand in O Timão’s impressive progress to date and scored the opener in Thursday’s 2-0 win at Racing Montevideo.
10 - The minimum number of points teams will probably need in order to finish among the six top second-placed sides.
What they said
“The prospect of them going out doesn’t fill me with pleasure. I don’t take any delight at all in the misfortune of others,”
Universidad de Chile coach Gerardo Pelusso laments the plight faced by domestic rivals Universidad Catolica.
This week's results
Deportivo Quito (ECU) 2-1 Cerro (URU)
Caracas (VEN) 1-3 Universidad de Chile (CHI)
Racing (URU) 0-2 Corinthians (BRA)
Emelec (ECU) 0- 0 Internacional (BRA)
Universidad Catolica (CHI) 2-0 Flamengo (BRA)
Blooming (BOL) 1-2 Libertad (PAR)
Lanus (ARG) 0-0 Universitario (PER)
Colo-Colo (CHI) 1-1 Cruzeiro (BRA)
Velez Sarsfield (ARG) 4 x 0 Deportivo Italia (VEN)