Sao Paulo make it through

Three-time continental champions Sao Paulo became the second side to reach the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores after securing a nervy 2-1 win over Defensor Sporting. Boca Juniors, Gremio, Nacional, Universitario and Estudiantes all look well placed to join the Brazilians, while Liga de Quito and River Plate both drew and are in danger of making early exits. rounds up all the latest action.

Game of the week
Estudiantes 4-0 Cruzeiro
Goals: Juan Sebastian Veron 5, Gaston Fernandez 31, Cristian Sanchez Prette 73, 77.

Inspired by the ageless Juan Sebastian Veron, who scored one and made two of his side's four goals, Estudiantes took a giant step towards the next round by overpowering Group 5 leaders Cruzeiro in La Plata. El Pincha's show of strength provided ample revenge for their 3-0 defeat in Belo Horizonte back in February and took them second in the section just a point behind the Brazilians. Both sides can go through next week without even playing should bottom-placed Universitario de Sucre win at Deportivo Quito. Any other result will leave everything to be decided in the final two games in a fortnight's time.

Surprise of the week
Sport Recife (BRA) 0-2 Palmeiras (BRA)
Goals: Keirrison 23, Diego Souza 72

Bottom of Group 1 and pointless going into the game, Palmeiras revived their hopes of progressing by collecting three valuable if unexpected points, the only away win in the week's 11 games. Following defeats to Liga de Quito and Colo Colo, O Verdão had to take something from the game and came up with a determined performance against stylishly enterprising opponents. After opening the scoring and withstanding the home side's onslaught, Palmeiras made sure of the spoils courtesy of Diego Souza's superb solo effort.

In the other game in the section Colo Colo made Liga de Quito's task of defending their crown even harder by snatching an unlikely point in Ecuador. The holders played the better football throughout and took the lead through Jairo Campos. Missed chances proved their undoing, however, and Claudio Bieler's last-minute own goal gave the visitors an undeserved point that puts them in pole position in the group and leaves Liga struggling in third.

Of the four sides who were in with a chance of qualifying for the next round this week, only Sao Paulo achieved their objective. Not that it was easy for the 2005 champions, who fell behind to Uruguayan visitors Defensor Sporting when goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni fumbled a free-kick over the line. O Tricolor Paulista had to wait until the last 20 minutes before gaining control, two quick strikes from Borges helping them to the points and one of the qualification slots from Group 4.

Both games in Group 3 ended in draws, with leaders Nacional of Uruguay virtually sealing their place in the knockout stages with a goalless stalemate away to River Plate. El Bolso now have ten points from four games and lie six clear of Los Millonarios, whose chances of advancing were not helped by Universidad San Martin's 1-1 draw against the other Nacional in Asuncion. The Peruvians remain second, three points ahead of River.

Fellow Lima outfit Universitario are in an even stronger position in Group 8 after downing the already qualified Libertad 2-1 to move within touching distance of the next round. La Crema are three points ahead of San Luis, who put paid to San Lorenzo's chances with a 2-0 win in Mexico, a result that triggered the resignation of Miguel Russo (a Copa winner with Boca Juniors in 2007) as El Ciclón coach.

Riding high in Group 2 with 12 points out of 12, Los Xeneizes all but ensured their place in the next phase with a 3-1 defeat of Guarani at the Bombonera. Boca failed to shine but took their chances when they had to and can advance to the knockout rounds even if they lose their two remaining games and other results go their way.

Gremio also put one foot in the round of 16 after disposing of Bolivian strugglers Aurora 3-0 in Porto Alegre. Os Gaúchos remain top of Group 7, three points clear of Universidad de Chile, who moved into second place thanks to an emphatic 3-0 defeat of Boyaca Chico in Santiago. Despite that reverse, the Colombians are still firmly in contention.

Player of the week
Borges (Sao Paulo)
The 28-year-old striker rescued his side from an unlikely defeat at home to Defensor Sporting with two goals in four second-half minutes. Borges' double put him level with Deportivo Cuenca's Rodrigo Teixeira Pereira as the competition's joint top scorer on five goals.

The stat
20 -
The number of goals that Martin Palermo has now scored in the Copa Libertadores, all of them in the Boca jersey. Palermo's strike against Guarani made him the club's leading scorer in the competition, one goal ahead of Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Juan Roman Riquelme.

What they said
"We've taken an important step but the really crucial game comes next week when we have to try and beat Gremio, one of the competition favourites. We were totally committed out there and we got a good result." Universidad de Chile midfielder Manuel Iturra.

This week's results
Tuesday 7
Nacional (PAR) 1-1 Univ. San Martin (PER)
River Plate (ARG) 0-0 Nacional (URU)
Gremio (BRA) 3-0 Aurora (BOL)
Universitario (PER) 2-1 Libertad (PAR)

Wednesday 8
Sport Recife (BRA) 0-2 Palmeiras (BRA)
Estudiantes (ARG) 4-0 Cruzeiro (BRA)
Universidad de Chile (CHI) 3-0 Boyaca Chico (COL)
San Luis (MEX) 2-0 San Lorenzo (ARG)

Thursday 9
Liga de Quito (ECU) 1-1 Colo Colo (CHI)
Sao Paulo (BRA) 2-1 Defensor Sporting (URU)
Boca Juniors (ARG) 3-1 Guarani (PAR)