Santos, Cerro Porteno, Velez Sarsfield and Penarol are the last teams standing in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, the quartet all checking into the semi-finals of Latin America’s premier club competition after this week’s quarter-final second legs. FIFA.com has the details on how they did it.
Game of the week
Universidad Catolica 2-1 Penarol
Goals: Fernando Menezes 17, Roberto Gutierrez 68 (Universidad Catolica); Fabian Estoyanoff 84 (Penarol)
Universidad Catolica’s hopes of landing their first Libertadores title ended on a pulsating night in Santiago. Following a 2-0 defeat in the first leg in Montevideo, the Chileans staged a thrilling fightback, taking the lead through Menezes after 71 minutes and levelling the tie on aggregate when Gutierrez scored midway through the second half. Estoyanoff’s strike six minutes from time silenced the home fans, however, and sent Penarol through to their first semi-final in the competition in 24 years.
Mindful of Once Caldas’s shock win at Cruzeiro in the previous round, Santos were determined not to give the dangerous Colombian outfit any chance of coming back from their 1-0 reverse in the first leg in Manizales. Neymar doubled the Brazilian side’s aggregate lead with a fine drive 11 minutes in, only for Wason Renteria to put the tie back in the balance on the half-hour mark. And though the visitors pushed hard late on and Neymar missed from the penalty spot, O Peixe held on to book their place in the last four.
Their next opponents will be Cerro Porteno, who beat Jaguares 1-0 to advance 2-1 on aggregate. Even though a goalless draw would have taken them through, the Paraguayan side attacked from the off in front of a packed house in Asuncion. They were rewarded for their enterprise after 17 minutes when Pedro Benitez pounced on a mistake by Jaguares keeper Fabian Villasenor to score the only goal of the game.
In the other semi-final Penarol will face Velez Sarsfield, who followed up last week’s 3-0 defeat of Libertad in Buenos Aires with another emphatic victory. Maxi Moralez was the star of the show, scoring twice as El Fortín came from behind to win 4-2 in the Paraguayan capital and seal their first semi-final appearance since 1994, when they went on to win the competition. Guillermo Franco and Augusto Fernandez were the other men on target for the visitors.
Player of the week
Maxi Moralez (Velez Sarsfield)
Moralez made sure there would be no unlikely revival for Libertad in front of their own fans in Asuncion, scoring the first of his two goals of the evening just a minute after El Gumarelo had taken the lead through Rodrigo Rojas. And when Manuel Maciel restored Libertad’s advantage on the night, Moralez was on hand with another equaliser.
12 - The number of goals Velez Sarsfield’s insatiable attack has scored in its four knockout matches so far, equalling their group-phase tally.
What they said
“We don’t need to make any improvements. The team’s playing really well and we put in a good performance, even though we only came away with a draw. Once Caldas only managed to score from a set-piece, and our keeper had nothing to do because we dominated the game. Theirs had plenty of work though,” Santos forward Neymar.