Banfield, Cruzeiro, Estudiantes, Flamengo, Guadalajara and Universidad de Chile all secured important wins in their last 16, first legs in the Copa Libertadores 2010. FIFA.com reviews this week's action.
Game of the week
Flamengo 1-0 Corinthians
Goal: Adriano 65 pen
Teeming rain put something of a damper on this eagerly awaited meeting between Brazil’s two best-supported clubs, with both sides struggling to express themselves amid the deluge. Despite having Michael sent off in the first half, it was Flamengo who mastered the conditions better and created the clearest chances, gaining in fluency after the interval as the rain eased off.
The only goal of the evening came when Corinthians full-back Moacir, who had almost put the visitors ahead earlier, brought left-wingback Juan down in the box, giving Adriano the chance to slot home from the spot. The ten-man hosts continued to press, with the former Inter Milan striker heading against the bar. Ronaldo almost created a late equaliser for O Timão with a dart down the left, but his cross to the far post was scrambled clear.
Suffering their first defeat in this year’s competition, Corinthians now have it all to do at the Pacaembu next Wednesday, their hopes of winning the trophy for the very first time in what is their centenary year hanging delicately in the balance.
Surprise of the week
Chivas 3-0 Velez Sarsfield
Goals: Omar Bravo 26, 78, Hector Reynoso 90
Guadalajara went into this, their first game in the tournament, without seven of their first-teamers, five of whom are currently at a training camp with the Mexico national team. That did not stop them from putting a slipshod Velez to the sword, however, with Bravo scoring Chivas’s opening two goals and forcing the penalty that led to the third and the dismissal of keeper German Montoya. Favourites going into the tie, the Argentinians are now in serious danger of making an untimely exit.
Unlike Velez, a much-changed Estudiantes side fared far better on their trip to Mexico, Leandro Gonzalez’s fine shot from the edge of the box giving Alejandro Sabella’s side a slender advantage over San Luis. The holders have now gone 12 games unbeaten this season and remain on course to complete a notable Clausura-Libertadores double.
Cruzeiro took an equally significant step towards the next round when they maintained their 100 per cent record at the Mineirao with a 3-1 win over Nacional of Uruguay. Thiago Ribeiro was the hero of the night for last year’s runners-up, scoring all three of their goals.
There was little to choose between Universitario and Sao Paulo in Lima as they cancelled each other out in a sterile goalless draw. The Brazilians exerted some pressure on Luis Llontop’s goal but lost momentum after Richarlyson was sent off. The Peruvians have now drawn five games in a row, with the possibility of penalties looming large in next week’s second leg.
That was not the only goalless draw of the week, with Once Caldas and Libertad both firing blanks in their first leg in Colombia. Alianza Lima also failed to hit the target in their meeting with Universidad de Chile in their Peruvian capital. Their Chilean guests were not so profligate, though, with Diego Rivarola’s late goal giving them a firm grip on the tie.
Finally, Banfield put themselves within sight of the quarter-finals with a fine 3-1 win at home to Internacional. James Rodriguez set the Argentinians on the road to victory at the start of the second half. Kleber pulled the Brazilians level with a superb strike only to get himself sent off minutes later. El Taladro took full toll, with goals from Roberto Battion and Sebastian Fernandez putting them in control ahead of next Thursday’s return meeting.
Player of the week
Thiago Ribeiro (Cruzeiro)
The Raposa forward plundered a first-half hat-trick against a Nacional team that conceded only four goals in the group phase. Joint top of the scoring charts with Kleber on seven goals, the pacy player is proving a real headache for opposition defences.
3 - The number of players Brazil’s representatives had sent off this week. Flamengo had Michael red-carded in the first half of their match with Corinthians but still went on to win, while Sao Paulo eked out a draw with Universitario after losing Richarlyson in the second half. Kleber’s dismissal proved costly for Internacional, however, as they slumped to defeat at Banfield.
What they said
“The tie is wide open because they need to score if they want to go through and to do that they’ll have to leave to some gaps at the back. People say La U don’t score and don’t concede either, so the most likely outcome is penalties. That’s a lottery but we’ll be ready for it,” Universitario coach Juan Reynoso.
Last 16, first-leg results
San Luis (MEX) 0-1 Estudiantes (ARG)
Guadalajara (MEX) 3-0 Velez Sarsfield (ARG)
Universitario (PER) 0-0 Sao Paulo (BRA)
Banfield (ARG) 3-1 Internacional (BRA)
Flamengo (BRA) 1-0 Corinthians (BRA)
Cruzeiro (BRA) 3-1 Nacional (URU)
Alianza Lima (PER) 0-1 Universidad de Chile (CHI)
Once Caldas (COL) 0-0 Libertad (PAR)