Copa Libertadores review
The group phase of the Copa Libertadores 2010 reached its conclusion this week, with holders Estudiantes, Nacional of Uruguay, Banfield, Sao Paulo, Internacional, Flamengo and Universitario, who were not in action, completing the line-up for the last 16. FIFA.com has all the details.
Game of the week
Internacional 3-0 Deportivo Quito
Goals: Andrezinho 4, Bolivar 61, Giuliano 90
O Colorado turned in a solid team performance, laced with some individual brilliance, to sweep past Deportivo Quito and take the honours in Group 5. Despite needing to win to go through, Jorge Fossati’s side showed no sign of nerves, due in no small part to Andrezinho’s early strike. Controlling proceedings from then on, they inflicted a costly defeat on the Ecuadorians, who dropped from the top of the group and failed, due to goal difference, to advance as one of the six best second-placed teams.
In the other game in the section, CA Cerro’s last chance of qualifying evaporated when they were held to a goalless draw at home by Emelec.
Surprise of the week
Flamengo 3-2 Caracas
Goals: Ronaldo Angelim 16, Michael 18 David 76 (Flamengo); Rafael Castellin 14 Jesus Gomez 68 (Caracas)
O Mengão entertained the bottom team in Group 8 knowing that a two-goal victory would be enough to guarantee them a slot in the last 16. Yet despite the presence of Adriano and Vagner Love up front, they laboured to a 3-2 win that had them waiting nervously before receiving confirmation that they had squeezed through with the worst record of the 16 qualifiers.
Estudiantes also endured a nervy evening, needing a goal in the fourth minute of added time to edge out the already-qualified Alianza Lima 1-0 and snatch first place in Group 3. El Pincha’s matchwinner was Juan Sebastian Veron, who tucked away the rebound after Patrick Forsyth had kept out his spot-kick. In the same pool Bolivar ended their dismal campaign on a bright note, beating Juan Aurich 2-0.
Another big-name side made to work harder than expected were Sao Paulo, who eked out a 1-0 victory at the Morumbi over the combative Once Caldas to run out winners of Group 2, Fernando scoring the solitary goal of the night. The Colombians were not too concerned however as they had already qualified. Pointless at the start of the evening, Nacional of Paraguay belatedly opened their account with a 2-0 defeat of Monterrey in Asuncion.
La Academia’s Uruguayan namesakes made sure of first place in Group 6 when they downed Monarcas Morelia of Mexico 2-0 at home. Mario Regueiro and Mauricio Pereyra were the men on target for El Bolso, who went all the way to the semi-finals last year. Group runners-up Banfield will be joining them in the first knockout round after overpowering Deportivo Cuenca 4-1. Ruben Ramirez struck a brace for the Argentinian champions, with Walter Ervitti also scoring and goalkeeper Diego Lucchetti converting a penalty, all Banfield’s goals coming after the break.
Corinthians ended the group phase with the best record of all the qualifiers after seeing off Independiente Medellin 1-0 at home, Juan Valencia scoring on the break for the Group 1 victors. By virtue of their opening-phase preeminence, O Timão now get to play at home in the second legs of their remaining fixtures in this year's competition. Needing to win at Cerro Porteno to have any chance of joining the Brazilians, second-placed Racing Montevideo could only draw 0-0, leaving them with only eight points.
Finally, Universidad de Chile, who had already won Group 8, played out another 0-0 statemate with Santiago rivals Universidad Catolica to take their place in the last 16 with the worst statistics of the eight group champions.
Player of the week
Ruben Ramirez (Banfield)
The 27-year-old centre-forward was signed by Banfield at the start of the year to replace the Uruguayan Santiago Silva, the top scorer in the 2009 Apertura-winning side. Ramirez has repaid El Taladro’s faith with goals, hitting eight in the league so far this season and adding two more against Deportivo Cuenca, setting his side on the way to victory and a berth in the next round.
7 - The number of consecutive years that Sao Paulo have qualified for the last 16 of the Libertadores. On the previous six occasions, O Tricolor Paulista finished champions once (2005), runners-up once (2006) and reached the semi-finals in 2004. And on the other three they were knocked out by one of the eventual finalists.
What they said
“We don’t care who our next opponents are. A club with the prestige and history of Nacional has to go out and face the challenge,” Bolso coach Eduardo Acevedo.
This week's results
Bolivar (BOL) 2–0 Juan Aurich (PER)
Estudiantes (ARG) 1–0 Alianza Lima (PER)
Nacional (URU) 2–0 Monarcas Morelia (MEX)
Banfield (ARG) 4–1 Deportivo Cuenca (ECU)
Nacional (PAR) 2–0 Monterrey (MEX)
Sao Paulo (BRA) 1–0 Once Caldas (COL)
Universidad de Chile (CHI) 0–2 Universidad Catolica (CHI)
Flamengo (BRA) 3–2 Caracas FC (VEN)
Internacional (BRA) 3-0 Deportivo Quito (ECU)
CA Cerro (URU) 0–0 Emelec (ECU)
Cerro Porteno (PAR) 0-0 Racing Montevideo (URU)
Corinthians (BRA) 1–0 Independiente Medellin (COL)
Round of 16, first legs
Flamengo (BRA) - Corinthians (BRA)
Universitario (PER) - Sao Paulo (BRA)
San Luis (MEX) - Estudiantes (ARG)
Chivas (MEX) - Velez Sarsfield (ARG)
Once Caldas (COL) - Libertad (PAR)
Banfield (ARG) - Internacional (BRA)
Cruzeiro (BRA) - Nacional (URU)
Alianza Lima (PER) - Universidad de Chile