Friday, March 11, 2016

Boca find 96th minute equalizer, River draws again

The big guns from Buenos Aires were in action last night in the Copa Libertadores. Read about how they fared, as well as appearances from Colo Colo and LDU Quito.

After the goalless draw in the past weekend's Superclásico, Boca and River played their next games in the Copa Libertadores and they just had to come up with the same result again.

Erwin Saavedra scores the goal of the 2016 Libertadores season. (Photo: REUTERS/David Mercado)
Boca Juniors, on their visit to Bolívar, waited until the 96th minute to snatch a point from under the Bolivian players' noses. Federico Carrizo turned into the hero in added time by converting a direct freekick from far out with a fantastic shot. Bolívar's Romel Quiñónez could get one hand on it, but not keep it out.

Before, it was a lot of work for the Argentine visitors. Goalkeeper Agustín Orión was called upon to replicate his fine form from the Superclásico by saving his team from the dangerous Bolivian attacks on multiple occasions. Especially during the first half, Bolívar had the advantage in the feared Estadio Hernando Siles. Juan Arce, who scored a hattrick in the home team's previous outing against Deportivo Cali, had the biggest opportunity, but his header from an offside position hit the left post.

From another planet was the shot Erwin Saavedra came up with after 28 minutes. Boca just cleared the ball forward without much of a plan, leading to Nelson Cabrera's header into the opposite direction, precisely onto the foot of Saavedra. The Bolivian midfielder ran a meter or two and then fired a missile into the top left corner from about 30m out. Surely the goal of the week, maybe the season.

Fernando Gago could have equalized in the first half, but his wide open attempt from the edge of the penalty area went wide. The second 45 minutes were a bit more equal between the two teams with not too many quality chances on either side, until Carrizo won Boca a point with the last shot of the game.

In the table of Group 3, Bolívar (4) still remain ahead of Boca (3) in second place, as they are seperated by a point. But the Bolivians have to visit last night's opponent in their next match. Racing in first has 4 points, but played a game less. As did Deportivo Cali in last with one point.

Ganso makes it 0-1 for São Paulo (Photo: REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci)
In the Monumental, River Plate drew 1-1 with São Paulo. The match could never live up to the (probably too) high expectations, yet River could have led inside the opening minutes. Rodrigo Mora got to the ball first after some confusion in the area, but could only direct it against the crossbar.

Since Alario also squandered River Plate's next opportunity, São Paulo punished the defending champion in the 17th minute. The Argentines could not clear a set piece decisively and Ganso blasted a volley from the edge of the area into the back of the net for a relatively surprising Brazilian lead.

The equalizer 15 minutes later was a pretty funny looking goal, unless you are São Paulo of course. A corner from the left was whipped into the middle. Goalkeeper Dênis was first to it with his fists, only to hit his own man with the ball. From Thiago Mendes' foot, the ball deflected into the visitor's own net.

Former Boca striker Jonathan Calleri came closest to scoring the winning goal in the second half, but could not direct his flying volley on target. Very doubtful, whether Barovero could have saved that one. On the other end, the introductions from Andres D'Alessandro and Iván Alonso brought some fresh energy into River's XI, without producing THE ultimate chance. Centre-back Emanuel Mammana came closest with a with an attempt that did not really threaten Dênis' goal.

It stayed 1-1, which is a result that both teams can live well with considering the game we saw. The Strongest lead Group 1 with 6 points, two ahead of River. São Paulo only have 1 point, while Trujillanos have yet to gain any.

Should have scored: Martín Tonso wastes the biggest chance. (Photo:
Colo Colo and Atlético Mineiro did not excite anyone with their goalless draw in Chile last night. Overall, the hosts were the better team and could have come away with the victory. In the 50th minute, Juan Delgado had the largest opportunity for the time being, breaking into the area on the left side, but firing his shot just wide of the far post.

Over on the other side, the experienced Justo Villar was not challenged a whole lot by the Brazilian visitors. What did come through to his goal, the 38-year old Paraguayan had under control. Mineiro threatened the most with a direct freekick that went wide though.

After 80 minutes, it was Martín Tonso who had the game on his foot, going in all alone, making two defenders look silly, but sadly shooting it over the crossbar. This was definitely a scene where the Chilean deserved better.

Got things going: Carlos Rodríguez scored for Toluca. (Photo:
In Ecuador, LDU Quito suffered an unlucky defeat to Mexican side Toluca. Back home, Quito played a decent game despite their bad start to the domestic season. They still fell behind on the night thanks to a goal from Carlos Rodríguez three minutes before halftime. The 30-year old scored with a difficult header following a freekick from the left side of the area.

LDU Quito would get back even the same three minutes after halftime, when midfielder Fernando Hidalgo scored his first Copa Libertadores goal. Edson Puch lifted a long ball into the penalty area and all of the Mexicans jumped underneath the ball. Inevitably, it found its way through to Hidalgo who made no mistake.

The reason the Ecuadorians still didn't win has a name and that is Fernando Uribe. In the 85th minute, the Colombian striker produced the winning goal by outsprinting defender Luis Canga after a hopeful long pass from Christian Cueva. Goalkeeper Alexander Domínguez was without a chance.


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