Junior advance in Libertadores

Colombian side Junior secured their place in the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 by beating Bolivian outfit Oriente Petrolero 2-1 on Thursday night.

Junior headed into the encounter boasting a perfect record while their opponents had not picked up a point in Group 2, but the first half was an even affair and ended goalless. The visitors then stunned the hosts by taking the lead just after the break through Jhasmani Campos, but two goals from Carlos Bacca - the second from the penalty spot - turned the game in Junior's favour.

With four wins from four games in the pool, Junior became the second team to qualify for the next stage of the Copa Libertadores after Paraguay's Libertad.

In one other Group 2 match on Thursday, Brazilian team Gremio moved a step closer to the next phase with a 1-1 draw against Leon de Huanuco in Peru. Carlos Elias opened the scoring for the home team just before half-time, but Carlos Alberto equalised for the visitors in the 54th minute.

"We have a great chance of getting to the next stage," said Gremio coach Renato Gaucho. "We made a very important step today, but we have to go slowly. Playing away in the Copa Libertadores is always tough, no matter who the opponents are. We came here to win, but we couldn't do it and a draw is not bad at all."

The two other Copa Libertadores games on Thursday night ended in convincing home wins. In Ecuador, Liga de Quito thrashed Uruguayan side Penarol 5-0 in a Group 8 match. After losing last week in Uruguay, LDU had no such worries on home turf - 2800 metres above sea level in Quito.

Carlos Luna opened the scoring in the 21st minute and Walter Calderon doubled their advantage just after the break. In the second half, an own goal by Carlos Valdes and a Hernan Barcos penalty stretched the lead before Calderon completed the rout.

LDU, Penarol and Argentina's Godoy Cruz are level on six points in the pool, with another Argentinian side, Independiente, on three points.

In a Group 7 match in Argentina, Estudiantes hammered Paraguay's Guarani 5-1 thanks to a hat-trick by Hernan Rodrigo Lopez and two goals from Leandro Gonzalez. Lopez opened the scoring a minute into the match and struck again in the 14th minute, with Gonzalez making it 3-0 at the interval. Lopez completed his treble after the break before Julian Benitez pulled one back, but then Gonzalez sealed an emphatic home victory with a fifth goal nine minutes from time.

"We won the game in the first half. We had planned to put pressure on them and force them to make mistakes, and it went right," said striker Lopez. "The most important thing is that I felt well. Now we have to go for qualification."

Lopez had a tough 2010 due to a knee injury, and he celebrated one of his goals by kissing it. "I thanked the knee for being fine," he explained.