Copa Libertadores review
Week seven of the 2010 Copa Libertadores served up 13 matches, seven of which ended in stalemate. Elsewhere there were away wins for two Brazilian hopefuls and Uruguayan minnows CA Cerro, who now stand top of their section.
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Chile’s clásico universitario lived up to all expectations, with four goals, plenty of good football, a stirring comeback and an injury-time equaliser that preserved La U’s unbeaten record and kept them second in Group 8 behind Flamengo. Puch’s late strike was a bitter blow for Catolica, who are still without a win and now have little margin for error.
Surprise of the week
Emelec 1-2 CA Cerro
Goals: Pablo Perez 71 (Emelec); Pablo Caballero 52, Claudio Dadomo 67 (CA Cerro)
Not even the most fervent of Cerro fans could have imagined that their side would be topping Group 5 on their own after two rounds of games. The outsiders from Montevideo have done just that, however, claiming Emelec’s scalp on Thursday thanks to some opportunistic finishing and a solid rearguard action in the closing stages.
Alianza Lima showed their four-goal demolition of Estudiantes was no fluke by brushing aside compatriots Juan Aurich 2-0 at home. Los Aliancistas are the only team in the group phase to have won three games out of three and are well out front in Group 3. El Pincha are five points behind in second, having recovered from their Lima nightmare with a useful 0-0 draw away to Bolivar in La Paz.
Brazil’s Corinthians were another side indebted to a late goal as they salvaged a 1-1 draw away to Independiente Medellin. Dentinho was the hero of the hour for O Timão, shooting home five minutes from time to maintain his side’s place at the summit of Group 1. Racing Montevideo moved second after a tight 2-1 victory at home to Paraguay’s Cerro Porteno.
Despite goals from Gustavo Varela and Mario Regueiro, Racing’s city neighbours Nacional failed to repeat the feat against Banfield, with a James Rodriguez brace earning a 2-2 draw for the Argentinians. The point proved enough for El Taladro to hold on to the lead in Group 6 ahead of El Bolso. Making the most of that result were Ecuador’s Deportivo Cuenca, who hauled themselves back into contention with a 2-0 home success against Monarcas Morelia.
Group 8 frontrunners Flamengo left nothing to chance on their trip to Venezuela, easing past Caracas 3-1, two of the goals coming from Vagner Love. The result ended Los Rojos de Ávila’s run of 12 games unbeaten at home in the Libertadores and took Fla two points clear of Universidad de Chile.
Over in Colombia, meanwhile, Once Caldas held on to top spot in Group 2 despite a disappointing 1-1 draw with nine-man Monterrey. Sao Paulo climbed into second place after downing Nacional 2-0 in Asuncion, both Tricolor goals coming from the irrepressible Washington after fine assists by Dagoberto and Fernandinho. The Paraguayans have now lost three out of three and are all but out of the running.
Two other Brazilians side were in action this week, both of them on the road. After falling behind to Venezuela’s Deportivo Italia, Cruzeiro hit back through a Kleber double only for the goal hero to get sent off and the home side to recover to secure a 2-2 draw. The point took A Raposa into second place in Group 7, though they have played a game more than leaders Velez Sarsfield and Colo Colo, the side just behind them in third.
Internacional also came from behind to draw 1-1 at Deportivo Quito, with teenage prospect Giuliano cancelling out Tilson Minda’s first-half opener for the hosts. Roberto Abbondanzieri’s fine display between the posts ensured the Porto Alegre side held on for a point, although it was not enough to prevent Copa sensations CA Cerro from leapfrogging them into first place in Group 5.
Player of the week
James Rodriguez (Banfield)
Having scored in both his side’s previous outings, the 18-year-old Colombian followed up with a brace at the Estadio Centenario to earn El Taladro a valuable draw against Nacional. The in-form attacking midfielder is now his side’s leading scorer in the competition with four goals.
40 - The number of years that Bolivar have now gone without losing to Argentinian opposition in La Paz, a run that stretches back to Boca Juniors’ 3-2 win in February 1970. In 20 home games since then Los Celestes have collected 17 wins and three draws against Argentinian sides.
What they said
“We’ve taken a significant step towards the last 16, although we’re not there yet and we haven’t won anything. We need to keep going and not get carried away with ourselves,” Alianza Lima defender Hector Sosa.
This week’s results
Racing Montevideo (URU) 2-1 Cerro Porteno (PAR)
Bolivar (BOL) 0-0 Estudiantes (ARG)
Deportivo Cuenca (ECU) 2-0 Monarcas Morelia (MEX)
Universidad Catolica (CHI) 2-2 Universidad de Chile (CHI)
Independiente Medellin (COL) 1-1 Corinthians (BRA)
Once Caldas (COL) 1-1 Monterrey (MEX)
Alianza Lima (PER) 2-0 Juan Aurich (PER)
Nacional (URU) 2-2 Banfield (ARG)
Caracas (VEN) 1-3 Flamengo (BRA)
Nacional (PAR) 0-2 Sao Paulo (BRA)
Emelec (ECU) 1-2 CA Cerro (URU)
Deportivo Italia (VEN) 2-2 Cruzeiro (BRA)
Deportivo Quito (ECU) 1-1 Internacional (BRA)