Wednesday, March 16, 2016

San Lorenzo miss first win, Santa Fe in form

After looking at Atlético Nacional's impressive performance against Peñarol (do so if you haven't yet), here is what else happened last evening and night in the Copa Libertadores.

Néstor Ortigoza after his early goal. (Photo:
A very early and a very late goal wrote the story in the Nuevo Gasómetro. San Lorenzo's bid for their first Copa Libertadores win of the season ended in a 1-1 draw against Grêmio. Néstor Ortigoza gave the hosts the lead after just 4 minutes by converting a penalty. The Paraguayan midfielder was as sure as it gets from the spot. 

In the aftermath of the opening goal, both teams wasted huge chances. Geromel could have tied things up easily for the Brazilians but he slid it wide. On the other side, Martín Cauteruccio was all alone in front of the goal but was denied by Marcelo Grohe. The goalkeeper continued to deliver with an outstanding save on Blanco, laying in midair. Right before halftime, Blanco hit the post and San Lorenzo could not fire home the rebound in the middle. 

While the Argentine Libertadores winner from 2014 continued to be the slightly better side in the second half as well, they did not create as many chances anymore. Instead, Grêmio, who were not really existing offensively for large parts, equalized late in added time to silence the home crowd. It was substitute Lincoln that pounced on a loose ball after San Lorenzo had completely lost control at the back. 

Mexico's Toluca lead Group 6 with seven points. Grêmio have 5, San Lorenzo have 3. In last place are LDU Quito with 3 as well. Admittedly, Toluca and Quito still have to play their fourth game of the campaign, but will not do so until early April.

Jonatan Gómez celebrates his brace. (Photo:
The second Colombian club in action last night, Santa Fe, won their game in convincing fashion as well. Against Cobresal, the Copa Sudamericana champion managed a clear 3-0. 

January signing Jonatan Gómez scored twice to get his team on track. A great low shot from distance hit the back of the net early on, just 8 minutes into the game. Cobresal had not been able to keep up in the Copa Libertadores so far and we saw the same picture today. Santa Fe dominated and outplayed their opponents from start to finish. Logical consequence was the second goal from Gómez shortly before halftime. Juan Daniel Roa had the ball on the right and gave it into the middle, where William Tesillo laid it back outside the area. Gómez fired home another well-placed shot from way out.

The second half belonged to the hosts in its entirety and after collecting an assist on Gómez' second, Tesillo got on the scoresheet himself in the 74th minute. His header from a Seijas corner could not be kept out by Leonel Cuerdo. It was the last goal of the night, which should put Santa Fe on top of Group 8 with seven points. They are followed by Cerro Porteño (7) and Corinthians (6). Cobresal, in their second ever participation, have none and are already eliminated after four matches.

Independiente del Valle have celebrated their second Copa Libertadores win in a row against Melgar. The Ecuadorians won 2-0.

Twice, an quick start to each half was enough for Independiente del Valle to get by the Peruvian champions. Junior Sornoza scored in the 3rd minute, while José Angulo was successful 2 minutes into the second half. Sornoza opened the play for his second Libertadores goal of the season himself by laying it out to the right. Emiliano Tellechea found the run of his teammate in the middle and the 22-year old midfielder finished with a lovely side-foot volley.

The final goal was created by a hard shot from Bryan Cabezas. Melgar's goalkeeper Daniel Ferreyra could not make a good clearance and instead the ball bounced right onto substitute Angulo's foot who had lurked in the centre of the area. In the following minutes, Melgar tried a bit more offensively, until Independiente took the game over again after about an hour.

Certainly, Ecuador's representative deserved their win on the night as they were simply more awake when it mattered the most. Even shot- and possession-wise, they were the better team and it looks like Peru will experience the Round of 16 from the outside again. At least Melgar have waved goodbye to the competition already after not being able to collect a point in four matches.

Independiente del Valle lead Group 5 with 7 points, along with Atlético Mineiro (7). They are followed by Colo Colo with 5. Those two teams play against each other tonight and the winner moves into top spot.


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