Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Lucky win for Pumas, Peñarol lose at home

Week 3 of the 2016 Copa Libertadores got underway last evening. Four matches were being played and here is how they went from from "ok, sure" to "wow, really".

UNAM Pumas have celebrated their second win in as many games away in Paraguay. The Mexicans beat Olimpia 0-2. As an end result, the 0-2 was quite lucky for Pumas. Olimpia had the greater chances throughout the 90 minutes, but was just not able to finish. Big opportunities fell to Ariel Núñez who hit the post, or Saúl Salcedo whose header went just wide. 

Instead, Luis Enrique Quiñónez pounced on a loose ball before goalkeeper Diego Barreto could get there and put the ball over the line. He thanked the confusion in the penalty area that saw two of Olimpia's defenders unable to clear against Eduardo Herrera. 

18 minutes later, in the 70th, Pumas finished their opponents off with a nicely executed counter goal from Ismael Sosa. The striker, who already scored against Emelec in the first match, was the target man for a long ball slicing open the defense played by Herrera once more. 

Mexico's club had the chance to win even higher at the end but ended up wasting a few good counter chances. It would not have been deserved anyway. At the end of the day, Pumas have six points and Olimpia none. Deportivo Táchira and Emelec are in the middle of them with 3 each.

Alejandro Romero was the man of the match in Uruguay as Huracán beat Peñarol 0-1. The Argentine midfielder scored with a beautiful shot into the top left corner, leaving Gastón Guruceaga no chance. The goal of the game came only 7 minutes in, after Peñarol gave the ball away in awful fashion while trying to go forward. 

Overall, the Uruguayan hosts had a little more of the game possession and shot wise. Still, Diego Forlán and Co. could not find the equalizer and therefore already find themselves with their backs against the ball. One point from two matches is not a lot and next up is Atlético Nacional twice. Additionally, Peñarol were lucky that another goal did not count. Guruceaga was helping an injured Huracán player while they shot the ball into the empty net. Rightfully so, the referee took it back despite not whistling earlier.

Worth a look: The goal that counted and the goal that did not count.

Atlético Nacional continued their dominant start to the Copa Libertadores season by beating Sporting Cristal 3-0 at home. Colombia's club from Medellín left no doubts whatsoever about who will win this game at any time. Already early on, Nacional had a firework of excellent chances before finally scoring in the 12th minute. Davinson Sánchez was somehow forgotten right in front of the net and headed Daniel Bocanegra's cross in effortlessly. 

Colombia's champion continued to combine themselves through the Peruvian backlines and were rewarded again after 33 minutes. A beautiful series of passes had Jonathan Copete all alone and finishing into the bottom left corner. 

Cristal, after having a great game against Peñarol, came back down to earth tonight and stood absolutely no chance without their home advantage. Marlos Moreno, after assisting the second goal, scored the third and final one himself after 74 minutes. During the buildup and shot, every single Colombian player had way too much time with the ball yet again. No recipe to beat a quality team like Atlético Nacional.

One more Peruvian team was in action last night and Melgar suffered the same as Sporting Cristal. Despite playing at home, Melgar lost to Independiente del Valle by a score of 0-1. The game itself wasn't too spectacular for large amounts of time and the single goal was scored by Junior Sornoza in the 36th.

At the end, things got quite controversial as a regular goal was taken away from Melgar for a non-existent foul in the area, followed by a penalty shout that was turned down by referee Oscar Rojas as well. Instead of getting at least one point, Melgar find themselves at the bottom with 0 points from 3 matches and realistically without much of a chance to reach the round of 16. Atlético Mineiro are on top with 6 points, followed by Colo Colo and Independiente del Valle with 4 each. The top two have even played a game less.


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