Five through as holders bow out

Defensor Sporting, Nacional of Montevideo, San Martin, Sao Paulo and Sport all advanced to the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores this week. One side who will not be lining up with them are Liga de Quito, the defending champions and runners-up at last year's FIFA Club World Cup, with River Plate also making an early exit. reviews the latest highs and lows in Latin America's top club competition.

Game of the week
Defensor Sporting 4-3 Independiente Medellin
Goals: Alvaro Navarro 13, 90, Diego Vera 35, Diego De Souza 82 (Defensor Sporting); Luis Arias 19, Andres Ortiz 77, Diego Cabrera 90 (Independiente Medellin)

With La Violeta needing a win to advance and the visitors only requiring a point, the stage was set for a dramatic evening at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo. And so it proved as the Group 4 rivals served up the game of the tournament so far; a seven-goal thriller that will go down in the annals of the competition.

Leading 3-2 with only two minutes remaining and a man to the good following Jair Benitez's dismissal, Jorge da Silva's side seemed to have everything under control. They reckoned without Diego Cabrera, however, who headed home to level the game for Los Paisa and give them the draw they had come for. Typically, the Uruguayans did not give up and in the fourth minute of stoppage time Navarro turned the ball into the back of the net to spark wild celebrations in the stands.

Surprise of the week
Palmeiras 2-0 Liga de Quito
Goals: Marcao 48, Diego Souza 82

While Liga de Quito's tenth defeat in ten visits to Brazil hardly came as a surprise, few would have expected the reigning champions to bow out of the competition with one game still to play in Group 1. The Ecuadorians were outplayed by the Sao Paulo side, with Marcao's strike and a sublime late free-kick from Diego Souza confirming their untimely exit. The fate of the fast-improving Brazilians now hinges on next Wednesday's crucial visit to Colo-Colo.

Staying in Group 1, Sport showed their earlier results in the section were no fluke by downing Colo-Colo 2-1 to confirm their presence in the next round. Goals from Moacir and Vandinho cancelled out Rodrigo Millar's opener and left El Cacique with the task of taking a point from their Santiago showdown with Palmeiras.

Deportivo Cuenca revived their Group 2 hopes with a 1-0 home defeat of Boca Juniors, the only goal of the evening coming from substitute Edison Preciado. Boca's surprise reverse leaves everything hanging on next week's final round of matches. Despite losing their unbeaten record, the Argentinians remain favourites to top the section, while the Ecuadorians now have an excellent chance of pipping Deportivo Tachira to second place.

Boca's arch-rivals River Plate also lost, but with far more serious consequences. Los Millonarios crashed to a 4-2 defeat by Paraguay's Nacional in Group 3 and are now out of the tournament. The result also confirmed San Martin's qualification one game early, the Peruvians having claimed a 1-1 draw at home to leaders Nacional of Montevideo earlier in the week.

Aside from Defensor Sporting's epic victory, Group 4 also produced a 2-1 win for Sao Paulo, who checked into the next round as section winners courtesy of Dagoberto's brace against bottom-placed America de Cali.

Finally, Cruzeiro and Estudiantes fulfilled expectations by clinching the top two spots in Group 5. The Brazilians strolled to a 2-0 defeat of Deportivo Quito thanks to goals from Leo Fortunato and Wagner, a result that went down well with El Pincha, who drew 0-0 at Universitario de Sucre to make sure of second spot.

Player of the week
Alvaro Navarro (Defensor Sporting)

The Uruguayan striker's first two goals in the tournament could not have come at a better time. A crisp left-footed strike in the first half and an opportunistic, match-winning finish in the fourth minute of injury time ensured the 23-year-old hero status on an incredible night in Montevideo.

The stat
306 -
The number of games that Uruguay's Nacional have now played in the history of the tournament; one more than their biggest rivals Penarol and a new record for the country.

What they said
"You don't play nice football in the Libertadores. We did what we had to do to go through and that's all you need," Sao Paulo coach Muricy Ramalho defends his side after a narrow win over America de Cali.

This week's results
Tuesday 21
Palmeiras (BRA) 2-0 Liga de Quito (ECU)
San Martin (PER) 1-1 Nacional (URU)

Wednesday 22
Cruzeiro (BRA) 2-0 Deportivo Quito (ECU)
Universitario de Sucre (ECU) 0-0 Estudiantes (ARG)
Sao Paulo (BRA) 2-1 America de Cali (COL)
Defensor Sporting (URU) 4-3 Independiente Medellin (COL)
Sport (BRA) 2-1 Colo-Colo (CHI)

Thursday 23
Deportivo Cuenca (ECU) 1-0 Boca Juniors (ARG)
Nacional (PAR) 4-2 River Plate (ARG)