Visiting sides had the better of the opening exchanges in the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores 2009. Estudiantes returned from their first leg in Uruguay with a valuable 1-0 win, while Gremio and Nacional both secured score draws on their respective trips to Venezuela and Brazil. Cruzeiro bucked the trend by drawing first blood at home to compatriots Sao Paulo. FIFA.com rounds up the action, with the return fixtures to be played on 17 and 18 June.
Game of the week
Cruzeiro 2-1 Sao Paulo
Goals: Leonardo Silva 45, Ze Carlos 65 (Cruzeiro); Washington 55 (Sao Paulo)
This all-Brazilian tie is wide open after an entertaining first leg in Belo Horizonte. Cheered on by their faithful fans at the Estadio Mineirao, Cruzeiro showed why they have gone the best part of nine months without losing at home and opened the scoring courtesy of Silva's superb header on the stroke of half-time. Undaunted, O Tricolor Paulista levelled through the tireless Washington ten minutes after the restart, only for the hosts to restore their lead midway through the half. Substitute Ze Carlos was the scorer, finding his way into the box and unleashing a powerful right-footed drive that Denis could not keep out. Sao Paulo have an early chance for revenge before the second leg in three weeks time, with the two sides facing off again this weekend in a league meeting at the Morumbi.
Surprise of the week
Defensor Sporting 0-1 Estudiantes
Goal: Leandro Desabato 12
Sole Argentinian survivors Estudiantes were the only team to win on the road this week. Fittingly for them, victory came in Montevideo, the scene of their Copa Libertadores 1968 triumph, against a Defensor Sporting side buoyed by last week's elimination of Boca Juniors. The decisive goal came from a classic Pincha move, with Desabato heading home a cross from the right. A goal to the good, the visitors comfortably controlled the rest of the game, leaving El Violeta to pray for another unlikely comeback on Argentinian soil.
Paulo Autuori made a promising debut as Gremio coach, looking on with satisfaction as his charges claimed a useful 1-1 draw at Caracas. Both goals came from crosses, with Gabriel Cichero stealing in ahead of the Tricolor Gaúcho defence to put El Rojo ahead, and Fabio Santos arriving at the far post late on to nod the Brazilians level. The Venezuelans now have no option but to score away to a side who are unbeaten in this year's competition and are among the favourites for the title.
In the week's other match, Nacional of Montevideo came away from their visit to Palmeiras with a similarly valuable 1-1 draw. Indebted to some solid keeping from Marcos in a listless first-half performance, O Verdão improved immeasurably after the break and went ahead through Diego Souza. Just when it looked as if the Brazilians would have a narrow advantage to defend in Montevideo, Santiago Garcia sidefooted home to tip the tie in El Tricolor's favour.
Player of the week
Santiago Garcia (Nacional)
The Nacional striker, who announced himself to the world in the recent South American U-20 Championship, came on in the second half with his side trailing to Palmeiras. The switch proved an inspired one as the youngster ghosted on to the end of an Angel Morales cross-shot to steer the ball past Marcos and open his Libertadores account.
26 - The number of games that Cruzeiro have gone without losing at home. Their last reverse at the Mineirao came on 14 September 2008, when they went down 1-0 to Palmeiras in the Brasileirao.
What they said
"I'm very down because we had the chance to kill the game off and didn't take it. Gremio are very tough opponents and we were so close to taking a 2-0 lead. We switched off, though, and let them back in. We've passed up a good opportunity and the second leg will not be easy now," Caracas coach Noel Sanvicente voices his disappointment after the 1-1 draw with Gremio.
This week's quarter-final first-leg results
Cruzeiro (BRA) 2-1 Sao Paulo (BRA)
Caracas (VEN) 1-1 Gremio (BRA)
Defensor Sporting (URU) 0-1 Estudiantes (ARG)
Palmeiras (BRA) 1-1 Nacional (URU)