Independiente close to Libertadores oblivion
© AFP

Argentinian giants Independiente will likely miss out on the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Ecuadorian side Liga de Quito. The result saw Uruguay's Penarol advance to the next round, while putting the Argentinians on the verge of elimination.

Independiente, seven-time Copa Libertadores winners, took the lead in the 24th minute through Leonel Nunez's penalty after Liga goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez fouled Leonel Galeano. But Liga equalised 13 minutes into the second half when Independiente defender Julian Velazquez turned a Hernan Barcos shot into his own net.

The result leaves Liga in second place in the group, level on points with third-placed Godoy Cruz who they face at home next week. Both sides are two points above Independiente, whose only hope is a draw between the two and an improbable victory by eight or more goals against Penarol.

For Liga, the objective is to avoid defeat next week. Barcos said: "We'll try to do our best and win so we can qualify in the best position possible. Today we played a special game. We knew it would be tough. They shocked us with their goal but we are happy with the draw. This is what we wanted."

Given the numbers involved, Independiente are all but eliminated, much to the disappointment of Nunez. "I think Independiente did everything to win the match," he said. "Now we have a very difficult match ahead."