This week’s 11 group matches in the 2011 Copa Libertadores produced four wins for visiting teams, among them Chile’s Universidad Catolica, who edged Velez Sarsfield in a seven-goal thriller.
FIFA.com has the details on that dramatic encounter and rest of the midweek action in Latin America’s leading club competition.
Game of the week
Velez Sarsfield 3-4 Universidad Catolica
Goals: Fernando Ortiz 20, Augusto Fernandez 21, Emiliano Papa 45 (Velez Sarsfield); Lucas Pratto 1, 88, Tomas Costa 73, Francisco Pizarro 90 (Universidad Catolica).
Recovering quickly from Lucas Pratto’s early opener, Velez shot into a 3-1 lead and seemed to have everything under control by half-time. Fernando Ortiz’s second-half dismissal changed the complexion of the game, however, as Catolica mounted a stunning comeback to record their first Libertadores win in Argentina in nine attempts and move into first place in Group 5.
Surprise of the week
Nacional 0-1 Argentinos Juniors
Goal: Franco Niel 27
Montevideo’s Parque Central, the venue for one of the two opening matches at the 1930 FIFA World Cup Uruguay™, provided a suitably grand setting for Argentinos Juniors’ latest win. Los Bichos de la Paternal are proving to be one of the surprise packages of the competition and now stand top of Group 3 with seven points from a possible nine. In contrast, El Bolso, who have won the tournament three times in their history, are bottom of the section and can ill afford any more mishaps.
In the other Group 3 meeting, America recovered from last week’s defeat to Argentinos to edge out Fluminense 1-0 in Mexico City. Daniel Marquez was Las Águilas’ hero, scoring 20 minutes from time to move them into second place, four points clear of the Brazilians.
Cerro Porteno also took a significant step towards the knockout phase when they drew 1-1 at Santos. Elano’s penalty put O Peixe in front only for Argentinian striker Roberto Nanni to level from the spot in injury time. The point keeps El Ciclón out in front in Group 5 with Colo Colo a point behind in second. The Chileans marked Americo Gallego’s first game in charge with an emphatic 4-2 win away to Venezuela’s Deportivo Tachira. Ezequiel Miralles scored twice for El Cacique, with Esteban Paredes and Lucas Wilches also on target, while Julio Gutierrez hit a late double to restore some pride for the hosts.
After racking up nine goals in their first two games in Group 7, leaders Cruzeiro came back down to earth with a scoreless draw at Deportes Tolima, who remain in second place in the section. The Brazilians will no doubt be grateful for the point after goalkeeper Fabio denied Wilmer Medina from the spot 15 minutes from time. Over in Group 1, meanwhile, San Luis and Once Caldas played out a 1-1 draw that did little to improve either side’s hopes of reaching the next round.
The one Brazilian team to take maximum points this week were Gremio, who overcame Leon de Huanuco 2-0 to take over at the top of Group 2. Andre Lima and Borges, from the penalty spot, were the scorers as the Porto Alegre outfit maintained their unusual record of having won every single one of their five Libertadores meetings with Peruvian sides in Brazil by the same scoreline.
Penarol revived their Group 8 bid with a rare 3-1 victory at Godoy Cruz, only their sixth Copa win on Argentinian soil in 26 attempts. The men on target for El Carbonero were Juan Manuel Olivera, who hit a double, and Luis Aguiar. That result, coupled with Liga Deportiva Universitaria’s 3-0 win over Independiente in Quito, leaves the section wide open, with all four teams tied on three points after two games.
Finally, goals from Edgar Jimenez and Nelson Barahona earned Caracas their first win in Group 4 at the expense of Union Espanola. Los Rojos de Ávila are now level on three points with Velez, but lie third because of their inferior goal difference.
Player of the week
Roberto Nanni (Cerro Porteno)
The tall centre-forward has scored in all four of his side’s Libertadores matches this season and is the competition’s top scorer with five goals. The leading marksman in the 2010 Paraguayan Clausura, the 29-year-old made his professional debut with Velez Sarsfield and enjoyed spells with Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine, Spain’s Almeria and Italian clubs Siena and Messina before hitting it off with the Asuncion outfit.
49 - The number of years since Santos and Cerro Porteno last met in the Libertadores in Brazil, O Peixe winning 9-1 thanks to a Coutinho hat-trick, doubles by Pele and Pepe, and further strikes from Dorval and Zito. Angel Jara scored the Paraguayans’ solitary goal in what was the biggest victory in the competition until 1970.
What they said
“Nobody gave us much hope, but the team refused to accept their fate, rolled their sleeves up and went out and won a vital game. This was a final for us. I’m happy and I hope this is the start of something,” Penarol coach Diego Aguirre after watching his side win at Godoy Cruz.