Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time to take Atlético Nacional seriously

Colombia's champion Atlético Nacional continues to impress in the Copa Libertadores. Last night, they won 0-4 away at Peñarol. 

12 points from 4 games, it does not get much better than what Atlético Nacional have played so far. Yesterday, they convinced with brutal efficiency in the Estadio Centenario. From five shots on target, they converted four. It is more than time to take this team seriously when it comes to the competition's winner. 

Happiness: Atlético Nacional celebrate their fourth win in as many games. (Photo: AFP)
Jonathan Copete (8') and Daniel Bocanegra (45'+1) opened the scoring in the first half for an away team that was not even dominating the game, but simply was more precise and efficient than their opponents who were still missing Diego Forlán. Copete struck after a wonderful deep pass from Pérez, while Bocanegra scored with a direct freekick into the top right corner. 

Realistically, the game was decided at that point. Peñarol came out strong in the second half, but failed to make it count on several occasions. Notably the one shot on target throughout 90 minutes will be a thorn in their eyes. Neither striker Palacios, nor his partner Murillo could threaten Franco Armani's goal and were subbed off accordingly. 

The Uruguayans simply miss a lot of creativity, especially with Forlán out, a situation that is also apparent in their own Primera División. While it is somewhat manageable to look good against Rentistas and Villa Teresa, it will not be in the Copa Libertadores. 

Instead, Atlético Nacional made them pay twice more. Orlando Berrío scored with a goal that was basically a replay of the 1-0 (82'). A long ball was not dealt with by the backline and gave Alexander Mejia the assist. Three minutes later, Luis Carlos Ruiz added the fourth. He was played through the middle again by Mejia and finished without any problems. 

With this big win, the Colombians have pretty much guaranteed themselves winning the group (not mathematically yet), have 12 points. Next up are Sporting Cristal and Huracán with 4 and 3 respectively (but also a game less). In deadlast, Peñarol have one point and are on the verge of elimination.


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