Friday, May 8, 2015

Late equalizer stops Wanderers – Racing in good position

Gran Parque Central, the only Uruguayan survivor in the Copa Libertadores takes the stage. The Montevideo Wanderers host Racing Club, who’s attack with Diego Milito and Gustavo Bou is one of the better duos of the whole competition. And as you would expect, they were both in the starting 11 for tonight’s clash, making the Argentinians favorites over two legs. And maybe tonight?

I do not think that one should have expected an offensive firework tonight. The start of the game went accordingly and pretty slow with both teams getting used to each other including a lot of close duels in midfield. Especially Racing’s penalty area could have been used to plant some fresh flowers, while the Argentinians themselves tried their luck with a couple of shots from distance.

It took just under 20 minutes until there was the first real bit of danger in the home team’s penalty area, but noone could capitalize from a header or the follow up chance from a corner. Wanderers countered with a dangerous cross themselves which was fisted away by Diego Saja, Alex Silva put the rebound wide. The game opened up a bit finally with – more or less quality - chances on both chances, twice through Bou. The final precision in the passing game of both teams was lacking, but despite all of that the biggest chance of the game so far fell to the Uruguayans, Bellini turned around quickly and tested the goalkeeper with a low shot, Saja was up to the challenge. Marcos Acuña on the other side had the biggest chance for Racing. The game picked up its pace nicely towards the end, sad thing there has to be a halftime now.

Made it, second half time. 55th minute and it happened! Matías Santos with a low shot into the bottom left corner gave Montevideo Wanderers the lead, after he received a nice assist in the middle of the area from Nicolás Albarracín. What now, Racing? An away goal would obviously help their cause tremendously, but it will not come easy against the Wanderers, who continued to do a solid job defensively and not giving up many chances. There was nothing to see from (former) super striker Diego Milito. 11 minutes after the goal, Racing should have been one player less. Leandro Grimi jumped into the Uruguayan goalkeeper with his leg stretched, and fully caught him in the chest area. He got away with yellow, not enough in my opinion.

CEcM21wWgAAnrFh.jpg large

Midfield battle between Nicolás Albarracín (#10) and Leandro Grimi.

Watching Montevideo Wanderers play in the Copa Libertadores makes you wonder how on earth this same team is third last in their domestic league. They kept their in large parts excellent defense going and frustration was creeping into the Argentinian players. Only 10 minutes remained and still no sign of any away goal whatsoever. Then, out of nowhere, a cross from Bou finds the head of Brian Fernandez and suddenly we are tied in the 87th minute. It was the only real weakness that Wanderers showed in the second half, and leaving Fernandez unmarked in the middle made them pay big time. The match ended in a 1-1 draw and the advantage for the second leg shifted late right into Racing’s hands, who would already advance with a 0-0 draw.


Notes around the Copa: From roaring tigers and surprising outsiders

UANL Tigres are the first team in the quarter finals of the Copa Libertadores. After a 2-1 away win in the first leg, a 1-1 draw at home against Universitario Sucre was enough to advance to the next round. They will face the winner of Emelec vs Atlético Nacional.

Guaraní shocked Corinthians. One of the tournament favorites from Brazil lost 2-0 in Paraguay and will have a tall mountain to climb in the second leg, which at least will be at home.

Elsewhere, Estudiantes beat Santa Fe 2-1. The all Brazilian duels ended in a 2-2 between Atlético Mineiro and Internacional, as well as in a 1-0 home win for São Paulo over Cruzeiro.


Post a Comment