The latest from South America’s premier club competition.
This weeks Copa saw a few more teams progress, and a few more bow out of the competition. Godoy Cruz crashed out of the competition with a 2-0 loss away to Ecuadorian side LDU Quito. A fantastic goal from Hernan Barcos as he picked the ball up in his own half, ran it to the corner and brought it back in to score the winning goal. This result meant that Independiente also fell at the Group Stages despite a 1-0 win away to Penarol. It will be great to see if Penarol can rekindle the glory of old in the knockouts with their last Libertadores win in 1987. They have great pedigree in the competition.
Santos kept their qualification hopes alive, without the suspended duo of Neymar and Elano, with a 2-1 win away to Cerro Porteno, including an absolute scorcher by Danilo. Colo Colo took advantage of the result in Paraguay to go top of Group 5, beating Deportivo Tachira at home by the same score. However, with one game left and just one point separating the top three, qualification still hangs in the balance. Santos appear to have the best chance as they face Tachira with home advantage, while anything could happen between Cerro and Colo in Chile. Both games take place on Wednesday of the 20th and will be extremely exciting climax to the group.
Cruzeiro secured top spot in Group 7 with a fantastic 3-0 win away to Estudiantes. This puts my personal favourites for the title through unbeaten, dropping just 2 points. Wallyson got on the score sheet again to bring his total in the tournament to 6. After finishing as top scorer in the 2010 Libertadores, Thiago Ribeiro continued his great scoring form too with another goal in Argentina. Elsewhere in the Group, Deportes Tolima won in Paraguay against Guarani. This game had no bearing on qualification but ensured Guarani exited the group stages without a single point.
Group 4 was also decided. Caracas narrowly missed out on a place in the knockout rounds after losing at home to Velez 3-0. This enable Universidad Catolica to win the group with a 2-1 victory over Union Espanola in Chile, in what was a very tight group. Catolica had to come from behind against the Chilean side with Marcelo Canete the catalyst. A fantastic assist and a deflected pea-roller that trickled into the bottom corner to win it. Velez will need to improve if they wish to progress through the knockouts as they will face a first placed team and have been very hit or miss in the Group stages.
Atletico Junior could only manage a 1-1 draw with Leon de Huanuco in Colombia. This gave Gremio the chance to win the Group despite Junior’s fantastic start. However, they could not capitalise and succumbed to a 3-0 loss to Oriente Petrolero in Bolivia. The Brazilians may rue the missed chance as they may face a potentially much trickier tie against a group winner. Junior will be pleased that their good form in the opening games has carried them through despite poor results in their last two games.
Goal of the week belongs to the aforementioned Danilo for his cracker that set Santos on their way to victory in Asuncion. He shrugs off a tackle then drops a shoulder to skin a player in midfield before launching an unstoppable strike. Enjoy!
The 19th and 20th of the month will play host to the final group games, all of which involve a team vying for a place in the knockouts. The conclusion to Group 3 will be superb as not one team is sure of qualification and the stand out match being Argentinos Jrs. welcoming Fluminense to the Diego Armando Maradona. It is going to be a fantastic end to the group stages so make sure you watch!