Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Palmeiras are too cute in Uruguay - Copa Libertadores

Jean, scorer of the first Copa Libertadores goal in 2016. (photo: Dante Fernandez/AFP)
The Copa Libertadores 2016 has finally started and last night, the group stage began with three matchups. River Plate de Uruguay were visited by Palmeiras, Deportivo Táchira hosted Olimpia and Copa Sudamericana winner Santa Fe met Cerro Porteño.

At the end of the night, Brazilian cup winners Palmeiras were left disappointed in Uruguay. A 2-2 draw was not enough for the clearly superior visitors against River Plate in Maldonado. 

Throughout the game, the Brazilians were simply too cute to come away with the victory, despite going into halftime with a lead. A beautiful pass from Dudu found the run of midfielder Jean, who made no mistake and buried it into the bottom corner. It was not really undeserved, as Palmeiras dominated especially on the technical part of the game. 

That fancy does not get you anywhere in football was quickly noticed in the second half though. River equalised quickly through Michael Santos' penalty in the 51st minute and continued to be the better team early on. Still, Palmeiras found a way to get back and retook the lead seven minutes later. A nice combination from Zé Roberto to Alecsandro to Gabriel and the ball was in the back of the net. Definitely worth a watch (see video below). 

The fact that six minutes later it was tied again was mainly due to poor set piece defending. One of River's best men, Bruno Montelongo was left all alone on the edge of the goalkeeper's box and headed it in unbothered. Palmeiras had most of the possession in this second half, ended up outshooting their opponents 13-5, but the end result remained 2-2.

Venezuela's champion Deportivo Táchira came up with a big home win to start their campaign. 2-1 was the final score over Paraguay's Olimpia. In fairness, they profited tremendously from a first half red card for Carlos Rolon.

Only one minute after, in the 42nd, Yuber Mosquera gave the Venezuelans the lead through a rising header from a corner. Overall, the first 45 were pretty even, both goalkeepers came up with huge saves at some point or another. 

About an hour into the match, Edgar Perez decided it with the 2-0 for Táchira. Heading a loss cross from Carlos Lujano in at the far post seemingly killed the visitors spirits. But not for good. Substitute striker José Ariel Núñez cut the lead in half when he was through on goal all alone after a perfectly timed pass by Wilson Pittoni. Olimpia tried to go for the equaliser with 10 men, but nothing much went the visitors way anymore. 

Battle without a goal between Santa Fe and Cerro Porteño (photo:
Over in Colombia, a goalless draw was all that Santa Fe and Cerro Porteño managed. However, the Copa Sudamericana champions were heavily dominating throughout the game, ended up with 18-3 shots (11-0 on target!), but simply could not find the back of the net. 

The biggest chance of them all likely came in the first minute already. Centre-back William Tesillo went forward for Santa Fe's freekick and his header ended up against the left post. Since striker Carlos Ibarguen did not do it better in the 40th, as he hit the post as well, the Colombians have to wait until next time to gain their first win of the Copa Libertadores season.


Post a Comment