Friday, April 17, 2015

Decisions, decisions & the small matter of a Superclásico

As we move closer towards the knockout stages, here’s a roundup of all this week’s decisions and standings in each group.
Group 1 saw, yet again, a 1-0 win from Atlas Guadalajara over Atlético Mineiro, a loss with which Atlas pulled the Brazilians on the brink of elimination along with themselves. Both have 6 points and trail the leading duo Santa Fe and Colo-Colo by 3 (Santa Fe beat them 3-0). The decisive game will most likely take place between Mineiro and Colo-Colo, with the Chileans holding the advantage on goal difference. Atlético Mineiro will need at least a 2-0 win.
In Group 2, São Paulo FC came away with a last minute victory at Uruguay’s champions Danubio FC, who remain pointless. A 2-1 win puts them in a solid position behind the already qualified local rivals Corinthians SP, that drew 0-0 with defending champions San Lorenzo. The team from Argentina needs a win in the last game at home against Danubio, while hoping that Corinthians helps them out with three points against São Paulo.
For the situation in Group 3, check out my last article: Huracán cruz(eiro)-ing to victory – Ábila shines.
CS Emelec used to lead Group 4 ahead of this matchday. Well, not anymore. The 0-1 loss in Bolivia’s capital La Paz means their opponent The Strongest moved past them by two points. But not only that, because Internacional SC with their own impressive 4-0 win against last placed U de Chile now have the front seat when it comes to qualifying for the next stage. Only thing to look out for: On the last matchweek, the top two teams (10 and 9 points respectively) face each other, opening the door again for Emelec (7), should they be able to beat Universidad de Chile.
Group 5 is finished and Montevideo Wanderers did what I expected them to do in beating Zamora 3-0, while hoping that Boca would also win their last game against Palestino. They delivered with a 2-0 victory over the Chilean outsiders, who did not perform like one throughout the tournament that is now over for them. Boca Juniors won every game while scoring an impressive 19 goals along with it. If you did not have them on your list of favorites before the first kickoff, you do now. Wanderers ended up second with 10 points.
It was a very close finish in Group 6 and finally, on the last matchday, River Plate got out of the tight spot they maneuvered themselves into. A 3-0 win over Club San José, their only win in the group (four draws), was enough to advance into the knockout stages. Juan Aurich had it in their own hands to ruin it for the Argentinians, but could not do it. They lost a wild one to group winners UANL Tigres 4-5.
Group 7 did not see a game this week, it all remains as explained in previous articles.
Lastly, we are also done in Group 8. Argentina’s Racing Club celebrated a final comeback victory against Deportivo Táchira, beating the Venezuelans 3-2 after being down 0-2. The battle for second spot ended in a 1-1 draw, which results in Paraguay’s Guaraní advancing over Sporting Cristal.
This is the schedule for knockout round 1 as of right now, and wow is it ever a big one (yes, the first game is safe, and yes, it is the Superclásico):
Boca Juniors* vs River Plate*
Corinthians SP* vs Guaraní*
UANL Tigres* vs Libertad
Racing Club* vs Cruzeiro EC
Internacional vs Montevideo Wanderers*
Santa Fe vs The Strongest
Universitario Sucre vs Colo-Colo
Atlético Nacional vs São Paulo FC


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