Thursday, March 10, 2016

Central convince, Táchira beat Pumas

Week 4 of the Copa Libertadores continued last night. Aside from Nacional's stunning away win against Palmeiras, five other games were played.

Group 2's other game ended in a rout of Uruguay's River Plate at the hands of Rosario Central. Central, probably Argentina's best club at the moment, played fantastic football yet again, led by the midfield trio of Cervi, Lo Celso and Colman.

It also does not hurt to have a player like Marco Rubén in the lineup. Last season's Primera División top scorer collected a hattrick in the 4-1 victory. On the first one (19'), he profited off his good positioning and scored from close distance, on the second one (61') he was first to a deflected Colman shot, before firing home his best of the day 10 minutes later. Rubén caught goalkeeper Nicola Pérez on the wrong foot and saw his attempt go in. 

Inbetween all the Rubén show, Germán Herrera made it 2-0 (57') after a lovely through ball from Lo Celso. His finish into the top left corner was equally as good. On the other side, Michael Santos finished off a nice combination of the visiting Uruguayans in the 64th minute to make it 3-1. 

Grêmio's Luan defends the ball. (Photo:
Grêmio have missed their second win of the group stages due to a 1-1 draw with Argentina's San Lorenzo. Centre-back Fred opened the scoring with a direct freekick after 26 minutes, that was not unsaveable for Sebastián Torrico. Seven minutes later, a freekick on the other side led to the equalizer. Martín Cauteruccio jumped the highest and headed it by Marcelo Grohe. 

Overall, there was not too much in this game. The visitors from Argentina were just not precise enough in their finishing to threaten Grêmio any more. A single shot on target is symbolic. San Lorenzo have not won a game yet and struggle again like they did last season in the Copa Libertadores.

In the meantime, Deportivo Táchira celebrated their second win already, both of them at home. This time, the previously unbeaten UNAM Pumas were the victims, losing 2-0. Both goals were scored in the first half from Sergio Herrera in the 8th minute and a wonderful strike from far out from Carlos Cermeño (44'). 

Venezuela's champion highly deserved this victory, as they dominated possession and chances in this game. Both teams can live with the result, considering they both have six points already now and Pumas will host Táchira next time in the return match and can get revenge back home in Mexico.

Last but not least, Group 8 was in action too in yesterday's early evening. Copa Sudamericana winner Santa Fe won 1-2 away in the Chilean desert against Cobresal. Especially during the first half, the Colombian team was the significantly better team and made it count by scoring twice. 

After 17 minutes, a Patricio Jérez own-goal gave Santa Fe the lead. As they continued to push forward, Cristian Borja found his teammate Sebastián Salazar in the middle and he roofed it into the net to double the lead. The second 45 minutes were more equal, also due to the red card for Santa Fe's Carlos Ibargüen. After all, Cobresal got their goal too late to make any difference. After 89 minutes, Israel Poblete headed it in for the final score of 1-2.

Guillermo Beltrán celebrates. (Photo:
Cerro Porteño celebrated their second win in a row and now lead the group with 7 points. The Paraguayans beat Corinthians 3-2 in an action-packed match. 

Corinthians took the lead early on through André (12'). The striker put home a rebound following a mistake from goalkeeper Antony Silva. Cerro did not let this scene discourage them and played a decent half without being rewarded for it though.

The second 45 started with the headed equalizer from Guillermo Beltrán. Following the goal against, Corinthians showed a lack of discipline and had two players sent off for their respective second yellow cards. Sergio Díaz (75') and Beltrán again (82') went on to decide this one with the two-man advantage. Brazil's champion got one back late via penalty through Giovanni Augusto (88'), but it was not enough to collect a point in Paraguay.


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