Friday, February 13, 2015

Qualified - Those who made it and those who didn’t

On the last three days the second legs of the Copa Libertadores qualification round were held across South America.

Not really worth talking about is Huracán’s home game that ended in a 0-0 draw against Alianza Lima, as the Argentinians won the first game 4-0 in Peru. Despite the leg already being decided the teams did play ok for the most part and produced a handful of quality chances. The most awesome part for me was the entrance of the home team though.

In Tuesday’s late game, Bolivia’s The Strongest beat Mexico’s Monarcas Morelia 2-0 with two late goals in the last five minutes, giving them a 3-1 aggregate win and therefore advancing to the group stage.

Wednesday’s football part began with the realization to never bet on Copa Libertadores matches, because they are simply unpredictable. Having played a rather slow first half, Cerro Porteño and Deportivo Táchira exploded for a spectacular second. Chances up and down the field entertained every spectator. Three goals in seven minutes around the hour mark were the last ones in this game though, meaning Cerro Porteño who led twice, would end up drawing 2-2 and going out of the competition at home. Táchira meanwhile complete the Venezuelan trio that is already including Zamora and Mineros. The image below shows a midfield battle from that game (Táchira in yellow).


Afterwards, Corinthians, after the 4-0 win in the first leg (see introduction post) already with one foot in the door to the next round, had to fend off Once Caldas’ push for a comeback. They did just that in convincing fashion, even without a couple of suspended players. A 1-1 draw in the second leg was enough to enter a strong group consisting of champions San Lorenzo, São Paulo FC and Danubio Montevideo.

After a long seven day wait, the second leg of Nacional vs Palestino finally took place in Uruguay’s capital. The stage was set, and Nacional had to win by at least a two goal margin to overcome the 0-1 away loss. They had a much better first half than the 90 minutes of the first game, but still went down again after Renato Ramos headed in a cross in the 37th minute. Nacional fought back, scored two goals, an own goal and a beautiful one by young rising midfield star Pereiro, but it was not enough. Alonso had the biggest chance in the second half, but only hit the crossbar. All in all, you have to admit that Palestino deserves to go to the next round, having been the better team for large parts and playing very strong defensively in the second half last night.

Lastly, in the sixth game Estudiantes beat Independiente del Valle 4-0 and followed the other five teams into the group stage. This one was too late, so don’t ask me how it went. Here’s the highlights for you though, so you can see yourself.


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