Heavyweights find it tough
© AFP

The big names were out in force as the group phase of the 2009 Copa Libertadores continued this week. There were no easy pickings for some members of the Latin American elite, however. Holders Liga de Quito edged home by a single-goal margin as did Boca Juniors, while Sao Paulo needed an injury-time equaliser to open their account. There were no such problems for Nacional of Montevideo, who recorded their second consecutive win and look well set to advance to the knockout phase.

FIFA.com rounds up these Copa stories and more.

Game of the week
Liga de Quito 3-2 Palmeiras (Group 1)
Goals: Walter Calderon 24 and 35, Damian Manso 58 (Liga); Willians 28, Edmilson 47 (Palmeiras)

The reigning champions made a winning start to their defence in a five-goal thriller. Calderon showed his credentials with a well-taken double, while Manso followed up his classy performances at the FIFA Club World Cup 2008 by clinching the points with a majestic free kick. The Brazilians, who were facing El Albo for the first time in the competition, acquitted themselves well, and can be expected to stake a convincing claim for one of the two qualification slots.

Surprise of the week
Nacional (PAR) 0-3 Nacional (URU) (Group 3)
Goals: Alvaro Fernandez 9, Nicolas Lodeiro 38, Marcos Mondaini 63

Asuncion can be a daunting place to visit and few would have expected El Bolso to pick up such an easy win. Fernandez's early strike set them on their way, and having defended their lead with ease the Uruguayans sealed victory through further goals from Lodeiro and Mondaini. Although Gerardo Pelusso's men could have added to their haul, this second win in seven days has made them strong favourites to advance. As for the pointless Paraguayans, their prospects look bleak.

Elsewhere
Sao Paulo endured a testing start to their latest Libertadores bid. The perennial Brazilian favourites needed a spectacular injury-time leveller from Borges to grab an unlikely point at home to Independiente Medellin. The Colombians had taken the lead late on through substitute Luis Arias, and although unable to resist the 2005 champions' last-gasp charge, the draw represents an excellent start to their Group 4 campaign.

Colo Colo were another historic name to suffer on their debut, falling to a shock 2-1 defeat at home to Brazil's Sport Recife, who were returning to the Libertadores after a 21-year absence. A packed Estadio Monumental fell silent after first-half goals from Ciro and Wilson put the visitors in command, and although Lucas Barrios pulled one back for the hosts, the Brazilians clung on.

Cruzeiro had an easier time of it at home to Estudiantes, cruising to a 3-0 victory in their Group 5 meeting. A ten-minute second-half goal burst accounted for El Pincha, with Fernandinho scoring from the spot and Kleber adding a quick-fire brace before getting sent off. Another Argentinian side to lose on the road were San Lorenzo, who went down to a Nolberto Solano penalty at Universitario in Group 8.

And finally, Boca Juniors and Everton showed they have more in common than their distinctive blue and gold shirts by notching 1-0 home wins on Tuesday. Rodrigo Palacio grabbed Boca's only goal as they disposed of Deportivo Cuenca in Group 2, while Roberto Gutierrez did the honours for Los Ruleteros as they overcame Group 6 adversaries Caracas FC.

Player of the week
Rodrigo Palacio (Boca Juniors)
The 27-year-old forward returned to the starting line-up after a four-month absence and showed Boca just what they have been missing, unleashing a fierce right-foot strike in the first half to give the Xeneixes their seventh straight Libertadores win at the Bombonera.

The stat
10 -
The number of years Colo Colo have now gone since their last opening-day win in the competition: a 1-0 defeat of Universidad Catolica back in 1999, the only goal coming from Cristian Montecinos. Ironically, El Cacique's coach that day was none other than Nelsinho Baptista, the man who masterminded Sport Recife's surprise win in Santiago on Wednesday.

What they said
"There was no way we would have deserved to lose this match. Bobadilla had an amazing game in goal for them, but the team never stopped trying and we managed to rescue a point in the end," Sao Paulo striker Borges.

This week's results
Tuesday 17
Liga de Quito (ECU) 3-2 Palmeiras (BRA)
Boca Juniors (ARG) 1-0 Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)
Everton (CHI) 1-0 Caracas FC (VEN)

Wednesday 18
Nacional (PAR) 0-3 Nacional (URU)
Sao Paulo (BRA) 1-1 Independiente Medellin (COL)
Colo Colo (CHI) 1-2 Sport Recife (BRA)

Thursday 19
Cruzeiro (BRA) 3-0 Estudiantes LP (ARG)
Universitario (PER) 1-0 San Lorenzo (ARG)