All the best from this weeks Copa Sudamericana action.
Arsenal de Sarandi 3-2 Olimpia (Arsenal win 3-2 on aggregate)
After a 0-0 draw in Asuncion in the first leg, Olimpia looked to have qualification in the bag until a late Arsenal goal sent the Argentinean side through to the next round.
Arsenal took the lead with two goals in quick succession in the first half. The first came in the 17th minute when Christian Trombetta headed home and the second just three minutes later, when Emiliano Zelaya produced a delightful lobbed finish over Martin Silva. The Paraguayans rallied and managed to go in to the break level after a brace from Pablo Zeballos, including a beautifully struck free kick for his first.
With just six minutes remaining Olimpia hearts were broken when Silva failed to deal with a ball into the box and Gustavo Blanco headed in despite being clearly offside. The 2007 edition winners progressed to the next round in a very entertaining match.
Sao Paulo 1-0 Libertad
Luis Fabiano’s first goal since his return to Sao Paulo from Sevilla gave the Brazilian a club a 1-0 aggregate lead to take to Asuncion in a fortnight.
The first half at the Morumbi was a cagey affair but in the second half the game loosened up. Neither keeper was particularly stretched but Sao Paulo will be disappointed in the amount of times Libertad stretched their back line.
They did not give up and with 15 minutes remaining Fabiano struck. His run was spotted by Dagoberto who nodded the ball into the former Sevilla striker who took one touch before volleying emphatically into the roof of the net. Libertad will still feel they stand a chance in the second leg next week, though an away goal would have certainly enhanced their qualification hopes.
Flamengo 0-4 Universidad de Chile
From being title contenders in the early stages of the Brasileiro, the Rubronegro’s form has dropped off a cliff in recent months and this hammering will go down as a dark moment this year for Ronaldinho’s side.
After Jose Rojas’ effort bounced off the post and onto Felipe’s back an into the net after just 14 minutes you could tell it would not be a good night for Flamengo. It got even worse when Airton was dismissed in the 27th minute and a double from Eduardo Vargas made it 3-0 at the break. The young Chilean prodigy showed his knack for goal scoring as well as great composure for his second.
The U were harshly reduced to 10 men in the 50th minute but still pushed forward. After Matias Rodriguez’s penalty crossed the line, but was not allowed by the referee, Gustavo Lorenzetti drove the ball home with 20 minutes remaining to ensure an outstanding victory for the Chilean side. The tie is arguably well beyond Flamengo now and next week’s match looks to be a formality.
Velez Sarsfield 1-1 Universidad Catolica (Velez win 3-1 on aggregate)
Catolica began well with a fluid forward line consisting of Milovan Mirosevic, Felipe Gutierrez, Fernando Meneses and Francisco Pizarro causing multiple problems for the Argentinean defence. Velez’s quality eventually shone through in the second half as they nullified the Chilean threat to progress to the quarter-finals.
The visitors looked extremely threatening going forward with Milovan Mirosevic almost opening the scoring after four minutes, but he was always stretching to reach Pizarro’s goalmouth ball for a tap-in.
The breakthrough did eventually come on the half hour mark. Gutierrez centred the ball from wide left and Mirosevic teed up Gonzalo Sepulveda who drilled an unstoppable shot past Marcelo Barovero.
Velez began to play their football in the second half, moving the ball about well and assuming control of the game from the Chileans. With 13 minutes remaining Fernando Ortiz headed home from Hector Canteros’ dead-ball delivery to put the tie beyond Catolica.
Alejandro Cabral showed superb ability when he scooped the ball on to the bar late on for Velez but the score remained 1-1 to see the Buenos Aires side through to the last eight.
Universitario 1-1 Godoy Cruz (Universtaio win 3-2 on penalties (2-2 agg.)
With a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Argentina it was all to play for in Lima. Both teams wanted to seize the initiative and get off on the front foot but it was the visitors who had the better of the first half. Ruben Ramirez was causing all sorts of problems for the U’s defence as he did not allow Luis Llontop a moments respite between the sticks.
Tomba eventually got their reward when Israel Damonte’s diving header on the stroke of half time put Godoy ahead with a vital away goal to match Universitario’s from the first leg.
The Peruvians pressed on in the second half knowing one goal would be enough to take the tie to penalties. They got it in the 85th minute when reported Liverpool target Andy Polo looped a header over the keeper and in at the back post from Edison Flores’ ball.
The shootout stood at 2-2 with both teams having taking four penalties so it effectively became sudden death. Tomba goalscorer Damonte stepped up for their final spotkick but Llontop kept it out. Jesus Rabanal took the opportunity to win the game with a composed penalty that put the Peruvians through.
Read more from Tom at his excellent blog Purple Patch