Friday, April 15, 2016

Rosario Central stop Palmeiras' efforts

Rosario Central have qualified for the round of 16 in the Copa Libertadores. Last night, they beat Nacional 2-0 away in the Gran Parque Central. 

Alejandro Donatti. (Photo:
Nacional, already qualified beforehand, took the opportunity to rest a lot of regulars last night, including the likes of Nico López, Santiago Romero or goalkeeper Esteban Conde. At least Leandro Barcia returned from his illness and got in 78 minutes. 
Central on the other hand fielded a strong squad, solely without their star striker Marco Rubén who was on the bench for 90 minutes.

The game itself developed into a really even one. Neither team impressed all too much, Barcia had the biggest chance in the early going for the hosts. His attempt was saved by Central goalkeeper Sebastián Sosa. On the other side, Jonás Aguirre's shot from distance flew over the bar. 

Finally, 44 minutes in, the ball was in the back of the net. Sadly for Nacional in their own behind Luis Mejia. After Franco Cervi's corner, everyone forgot that defender Alejandro Donatti exists and the centre-back had no trouble directing his header into the goal. A strike at a psychologically important time. 

Alejandro Donatti wide open in the middle and heads in Cervi's corner.
It was Franco Cervi in general (read the scouting report on him) who had a fine game and continued the trend in the second half by having the first dangerous attempt on target. Mejia had some trouble, but his teammated cleared it for their colleague. Nacional continued trying to go forward as well in front of a great home crowd that sang their songs throughout the game. Ignacio González curled a freekick just over the crossbar. It is doubtful whether Sosa could have reached that one. 

At the end, it was Rosario Central adding a second goal. Cervi played a long ball forward for his second assist of the night and Germán Herrera had it a little too easy against the only defender back, Erick Cabaco. Mejia could do nothing about the finish and Central went on to leave Montevideo with all three points and the group win.

They ended the group stages with 11 points, two ahead of Nacional.

Egidio scores Palmeiras' first goal. (Photo: Cesar Greco/Ag Palmeiras/Divulgação)
The team that got eliminated last night was Brazilian side Palmeiras, despite their best efforts. They won 4-0 against Uruguay's already eliminated River Plate. 

Two goals in each half was the recipe for success last night, but you cannot talk of success when crashing out of an admittedly tough group. Two losses to Nacional proved vital on the final bill. 

Throughout the whole game last night, Palmeiras were the clearly better team and got their three useless points highly deserved. Egidio scored the first goal 19 minutes in, profiting from a deflection that fooled River's goalkeeper Nicola Pérez. Now the floodgates were open for the match, but it took the Brazilian side until the 45th minute to get a second one. Agustin Allione produced a quality finish against the inside of the post and in after a long ball from Alecsandro had found him behind River's back four.

The same Allione was successful again during the second half. The Uruguayan defense was absent and left their goalkeeper out to dry on this goal. Allione was all alone to bang home the rebound following Alecsandro's saved attempt (73'). The finishing touches were being applied by Alecsandro himself. After two assists, he got fouled in the penalty area and stepped up for the penalty himself. Bottom left and 4-0. It was the last action of the night.

All Palmeiras could manage at the end of this Copa Libertadores season were 8 points, River Plate collected a total of 3 through 3 draws.


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