Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Huracán steal draw from heavy favourites

When the best remaining team plays against the worst, you would think it ends with a clear result. Not so much last night: Huracán managed to come away with a goalless draw against Atlético Nacional.

José San Román defends the ball against Jonathan Copete. (Photo:
Both teams had already met twice in the group stage and while Huracán's home game on matchday 1 ended in a 0-2 loss, the two teams tied 0-0 a week ago. Right from the get-go, the game developed into a pretty chanceless affair. Each team lost a lot of balls going forward and did not really get it done in the final third. 

First Argentine danger was generated on the right wing. Cristian Espinoza was played through with a lovely pass through the still unbeaten (!) Colombian back line, but his cross was not met by anyone in the middle. Next up was experienced midfielder Daniel Montenegro. Following a corner from the left, he reached the ball and tried to hit the far post with a low shot. It went through many legs and produced some trouble for Franco Armani, but the goalkeeper made the save at the end. 

In the aftermath of that scene, Nacional captain Alexander Mejia could have easily been sent off after purposely running into Ramón Abila and knocking the big striker down. He only collected a yellow card and was allowed to continue. 

Not much was seen by the best team of the group stages during the first half and it did not surprise anyone that an Argentine team would go to the halftime break with a 0-0 scoreline after the past weekend. Orlando Berrío probably had the best opportunity for Atlético Nacional, but his header went quite a bit wide. 

The second half started like the first one ended: relatively eventless. About 70 minutes into the game, the visitors finally got a little better and controlled possession more the way they are able to. Alejandro Guerra defended the ball well in midfield and fired a shot from inside the centre-circle. Marcos Díaz had paid attention and caught the ball without any problems though. 

The last chance of the game was very likely the best one. After Luis Carlos Ruiz had headed a long ball further into the run of Berrío, the right midfielder had broken into the opposing penalty area. Díaz was out quickly narrowing down the angle and did well to make the save with his feet after Berrío had tried to nutmeg him. 

At the end of the night, a goalless draw was the right result for a match that simply did not deserve a winner. Atlético Nacional could not replicate the form from their past six outings, but retain a big advantage. Seven games into the Copa Libertadores campaign, they still have not conceded a single goal. It should come in handy at home, even if a 1-1 draw would be enough for Huracán due to the away goal.


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