Friday, March 4, 2016

Brazilian luck, Bolivian party - Copa Libertadores

Week 3 of the Copa Libertadores is in the books. Three games were played last night and here is how each of them went.

Hero in green and white: Palmeiras goalkeeper Prass. (Photo: Conmebol)
Palmeiras beat Rosario Central 2-0 and they probably still do not know how. While the game was relatively even in the first half and the Brazilians took the lead through Jonathan Cristaldo in the 25th minute.

What happened in the second half was close to inexplicable. Central pressured the home team relentlessly, produced chance after chance, yet was not able to put any one of them away. Especially star striker Marco Rubén advanced to become a bit of a tragic figure. The Primera División top scorer missed had his penalty attempt an hour in saved magnificently by Fernando Prass. Another lob went over the crossbar. 

In general, Palmeiras could not exit their own half anymore, being outplayed by Lo Celso, Cervi and Rubén. Compared to Central's league play, the only thing missing in the Copa Libertadores so far are the goals. Especially this time around, they surely deserved more than the zero they got. 

At the end of the day, a counter goal in second half injury time capped things off for the hosts. Agustin Allione walked into the penalty area, left behind one defender with an inside move and slotted the ball home.  

Group 2 is being led by Palmeiras who now have 4 points. In second, Uruguay's River Plate with 2, Nacional with 2 and last but not least Rosario Central with only 1 so far. 

Juan Arce. (Photo:
Juan Arce was the man of the match in La Paz. Bolívar trashed their visitors Deportivo Cali 5-0 in their mountain home, with Arce scoring a hattrick.

Colombia's champion was simply outclassed by their Bolivian counterparts. Destruction started early, when Arce found the back of the net for the first time after only four minutes. Multiple massive defensive errors were the cause of the early headed strike. Arce made it two just 15 minutes later with a nice shot into the bottom right corner.

Bolívar had further big chances, even hit the post, before making it 3-0 in the 40th. Capdevila, who plays on the left side of the pitch too but is not the Spanish World Champion, beat opposing goalkeeper Ernesto Hernández with a header yet again. Throughout the game, the home team had way too much time and space and were not even closed down right next to the area.

Two more goals against in the second half was what Cali received and deserved. Rudy Cardozo made it 4-0 (73') with a powerful left footed shot, before Juan Arce completed his hattrick five minutes later. 

Boca and Racing in an empty stadium. (Photo:
Bolívar are in a position to advance to the round of 16 thanks to last night's third result. Boca Juniors, in front of an empty Bombonera (sanction after last season's Superclásico scandal), only managed a goalless draw against their Argentinian counterparts Racing Club

The match was the debut for new Boca coach Guillermo Schelotto. His team did not look any more inspired than under Rodolfo Arruabarrena yet. Let's see how things develop further. Midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro had the biggest chance for the hosts, but his wide open attempt was too weak to find its way past Sebastián Saja. 

As he apparently always seems to do this season, Saja had to mess up once as well, this time without conceding from it. He played the ball right into Carlos Tévez' foot, but closed him down quickly so his shot went into the side netting. 

In the second half, Lisandro López missed the ball on a low cross from the left, wasting Racing's best chance. Further shots from Boca's Jara and Carrizo from distance just squeaked by the outside of the post. On the bright side, Argentina's double winner did not give up anything easy to the visitors, improving in that defensive regard at least. 

Racing lead Group 3 with 4 points, followed by Bolívar with 3, Boca with 2 and finally Deportivo Cali with 1.


Post a Comment