Libertad make no mistake
Week eight in the Copa Libertadores de America proved to be a decisive one as Libertad of Paraguay sealed their place in the next round. Also poised to advance are the quartet of Cruzeiro, Boca Juniors, Nacional and Sao Paulo. FIFA.com has the latest on their progress and more in its weekly Copa round-up.
Game of the week
San Lorenzo 0-1 Libertad
Goal: Gaston Aguirre o.g. 50
The Paraguayans, coached by the Argentinian Javier Torrente, produced another efficient performance to clock up their fourth win in four games in Group 8 and book a deserved place in the last 16. Aguirre's unfortunate own goal decided a tight affair in Buenos Aires, leaving El Ciclón, booed by the home fans, with much to do to qualify.
Surprise of the week
Lanus 1-2 Everton
Goals: Santiago Biglieri 28 (Lanus); Roberto Gutierrez 52, Jose Luis Munoz 90 (Everton)
The Argentinian league leaders have been strangely unable to repeat their impressive domestic form in the Copa this season. Rooted at the bottom of Group 6 going into Tuesday's game, they needed a win to retain a realistic chance of progressing. Things seemed to be going to plan when Biglieri nudged the ball home after Gustavo Dalsasso had saved Jose Sand's penalty. Nelson Acosta's visitors had not read the script, however, and turned the game around with two well-taken goals. Munoz's stoppage-time winner took the Chileans level with Guadalajara at the top of the section and left El Granate needing a miracle to advance.
Cruzeiro chalked up their 11th win in 15 outings this season by comfortably disposing of Universitario de Sucre 2-0. The Blues are now four points clear at the top of Group 5 and are virtually assured a slot in the next phase. Estudiantes moved second behind them as Alejandro Sabella celebrated his debut as coach with a comprehensive 4-0 defeat of Deportivo Quito.
Boca Juniors shrugged off an unimpressive first-half performance in Asuncion, coming from behind to beat Guarani 3-1 and maintain their perfect record in Group 2. The attacking trio of Juan Riquelme, Rodrigo Palacio and Martin Palermo were all on target for Los Xeneizes, who now have one foot in the next round. Joining them there will be either Deportivo Cuenca or Deportivo Tachira, who met on Tuesday evening, with the Ecuadorians moving into second place on goal difference after a 3-1 win. Both sides have now played one more game than Boca.
Another Copa candidate to triumph away from home was Sao Paulo, who edged out Defensor Sporting in Montevideo thanks to Borges's superbly taken first-half goal. O Tricolor Paulista now stand top of Group 4 with seven points, having made their best start in the tournament since 1972. Three points behind them in second are Independiente Medellin, who played out their second draw in a week with compatriots America de Cali. The goalless stalemate did little for Los Diablos Rojos, who remain bottom with just two points from four games.
Thursday evening saw Nacional of Montevideo beat Group 3 rivals River Plate for the very first time in the competition, with strikes from Alvaro Fernandez and Mauricio Victorino and a Mariano Barbosa own goal taking them to an emphatic 3-0 win at the Estadio Centenario. With nine points out of nine, El Bolso now have one eye on the last 16, while Los Millonarios, who have lost both their away games, need to win their two remaining home engagements to keep their hopes alive.
In the week's two other encounters Universitario of Peru snatched a late point from their visit to Mexico's San Luis, who are almost certainly out of the running in Group 8, while Boyaca Chico's attacking prowess took them to a 3-0 win over Universidad de Chile and into first place in a keenly contested Group 7.
Player of the week
Mauro Boselli (Estudiantes)
The Boca Juniors youth product chose the perfect time to score his first goals of the season, converting two headers and a right-footed strike to help his side move up to second in Group 5.
19 - The number of goals Martin Palermo has now scored in the Copa Libertadores. El Titán, who is also Boca's leading scorer in the professional era, was on target just 22 minutes after coming on in Asuncion.
What they said
"It's important to have two goalscorers like Borges and Washington. One day one scores and the next day the other. With players like them you know you're always going to get a goal, so all you have to do is make sure you don't concede." Sao Paulo coach Muricy Ramalho heaps praise on his strikers after victory over Defensor.
This week's results
Lanus (ARG) 1-2 Everton (CHI)
Deportivo Cuenca (ECU) 3-1 Deportivo Tachira (VEN)
Independiente Medellin (COL) 0-0 America de Cali (COL)
San Lorenzo (ARG) 0-1 Libertad (PAR)
Boyaca Chico (COL) 3-0 Universidad de Chile (CHI)
Guarani (PAR) 1-3 Boca Juniors (ARG)
Defensor Sporting (URU) 0-1 Sao Paulo (BRA)
Cruzeiro (BRA) 2-0 Universitario de Sucre (BOL)
San Luis (MEX) 2-2 Universitario (PER)
Estudiantes (ARG) 4-0 Deportivo Quito (ECU)
Nacional (URU) 3-0 River Plate (ARG)