After 11 weeks of intense competition, Flamengo and Cucuta Deportivo secured their places in the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores 2008 by picking up handsome away wins. Meanwhile, defending champions Boca Juniors tripped up in Mexico and have it all to do if they are to retain their crown. FIFA.com looks back at a week of celebrations, raised hopes and disappointments.
Game of the week
Guadalajara 3-2 Santos
Goals: Omar Arellano 14, Francisco Rodriguez 34, Sergio Santana 47 (Chivas); Kleber Boas 39, Kleber Correa 56 (Santos)
Needing to win in Mexico to keep their hopes of progressing alive and prevent the Brazilians from checking into the next round, Guadalajara wasted no time in putting their Group 6 opponents on the ropes. As former Santos idol Pele looked on from the stands, the two sides served up a feast of attacking football with Rodriguez's superb header and Kleber Correa's stunning free-kick the high points of a pulsating, end-to-end encounter. The win took the Mexicans to within a point of OPeixe, although the Brazilians will beat them to qualification if they defeat group winners Cucuta in their final game on 16 April.
Surprise of the week
Cienciano 0-3 Flamengo
Goals: Renato Augusto 58, Toro 77, Juan 90
Flamengo stood tall in Cusco on Wednesday evening, cruising to an impressive win in this Group 4 encounter to dent Cienciano's 100 per cent home record and progress to the knockout phase earlier than expected. Franco Navarro's men struggled to exert pressure on Fla keeper Bruno in the first half and were simply swept aside in the second, Juan rounding off the evening with a delicious injury-time free-kick. The Peruvians must now beat second-placed Nacional in Uruguay in a fortnight's time if they are to join Joel Santana's charges in the last 16.
Boca Juniors need to sharpen up in front of goal if they are to have any hope of advancing from Group 3. Los Xeneizes spurned a host of excellent chances in Mexico as they slumped to a 3-1 defeat by Atlas. Just to rub salt into the wounds, Boca old boy Bruno Marioni notched two of the home side's goals.
With Colo Colo easing to a 2-0 win over Maracaibo on Thursday, the Argentinians now need to beat the already-eliminated Venezuelans by four clear goals in their final game on 22 April to advance. If they do not, they will have to wait on the result of the Colo Colo-Atlas game on the same evening. The Mexicans, who now lie top, only need a draw in Santiago to go through.
One side to get the job done this week were Cucuta Deportivo, who cantered to a 4-2 win at San Jose to make sure of first place in Group 6. Matias Urbano was the hat-trick hero for the Colombians, who have recovered well from a shaky start in the section and are now harbouring serious hopes of repeating last year's run to the semi-finals.
Over in Group 7, however, Sao Paulo let slip an excellent opportunity to secure their berth in the next round when they went down 1-0 away to Audax Italiano of Chile, Renato Ramos slotting home to blow the group wide open. Following their 3-1 win over Sportivo Luqueno in Paraguay, Atletico Nacional now stand top of the section, ahead of the Brazilians on goal difference and a point clear of the resurgent Chileans. In the final round of games in two weeks' time, O Tricolor Paulista host the Colombians with Audax paying a visit to the Paraguayans, who are out of the competition.
And last but not least, LDU and Fluminense, the two top dogs in Group 8, fell to respective defeats by Libertad and Arsenal. Not that the Ecuadorians and the Brazilians will be overly concerned about that. The duo have already made sure of their knockout places and will fight it out for first place when they meet in Rio de Janeiro a week on Wednesday.
14: The number of times Colo Colo have come up against Venezuelan opposition in the Libertadores, with ElCacique prevailing on each and every occasion.
What they said
"We didn't play well and we've dropped three priceless points. But I can assure you the ones we couldn't put away against Atlas will go in against Maracaibo. How many? As many as we need." Boca Juniors boss Carlos Ischia keeps the faith after seeing his side go down in Guadalajara on Tuesday.
Results of the week:
Tuesday April 8
Atlas (MEX) 3-1 Boca Juniors (ARG)
San Jose (BOL) 2-4 Cucuta Deportivo (COL)
Libertad (PAR) 3-1 LDU (ECU)
Wednesday April 9
Cienciano (PER) 0-3 Flamengo (BRA)
Guadalajara (MEX) 3-2 Santos (COL)
Arsenal (ARG) 2-0 Fluminense (BRA)
Thursday April 10
Colo Colo (CHI) 2-0 Maracaibo (VEN)
Sportivo Luqueno (PAR) 1-3 Atletico Nacional (COL)
Audax Italiano (CHI) 1-0 Sao Paulo (BRA)