Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Toluca advance, Táchira close to round of 16

Aside from São Paulo's impressive win over Trujillanos, three other games were played last night. One team advanced to the round of 16 in the process.

Ernesto Vega celebrates scoring his goal. (Photo:
Deportivo Toluca are the third team to advance to the Copa Libertadores round of 16. Despite falling behind 0-1 on the night, they managed to win their home game against LDU Quito 2-1. For the first time, the Ecuadorian visitors were coached by Uruguayan Álvaro Gutierrez. The former Nacional coach relied on the services of Edson Puch and the striker paid it back to him by scoring the opening goal. A right-footed shot from just outside the penalty area gave LDU the lead...

...which lasted for a minute. Carlos Rodríguez produced a lovely long cross into the area and while goalkeeper Domínguez did admireably well on the first header from Enrique Triverio, he was without a chance on Ernesto Vega's poacher's goal. Especially in those first 20 minutes, Quito were the better team and presented themselves improved early on. Eventually, the Mexicans took control and produced some more chances on home turf. 

The second half was contested very evenly and did not really deserve a winner tonight. Yet it was Toluca that found said winner in the 63rd minute. Christian Cueva lifted a freekick into the area from a central position, where it was headed on by Galindo to the wide open Triverio who would not miss from there and finished right underneath the crossbar. 

Toluca lead their Group 6 with 10 points, 5 ahead of Grêmio, followed by San Lorenzo and LDU Quito. Both bottom clubs have 3 points so far. 

Huracán could rely on Ramón Abila yet again. (Photo:
Following a 4-2 victory over Sporting Cristal, Argentina's Huracán have moved into a round of 16 position. The stadium in Buenos Aires was sadly quite empty for this one and early on it seemed like the fans' scepticism was justified. Cristal took a 16th minute lead through Santiago Silva. The Peruvian striker did extremely well after receiving a well-timed pass from his teammate Ávila. 

Huracán was a little shocked for a while and gave up quite a few big scoring opportunities for Sporting Cristal by misplacing passes around their own area. Still, they had the game turned around inside half an hour through who else but Ramón Abila. The big striker struck twice to get his goal total up to four this Copa Libertadores season. First, he scored with his right foot (24'), jumping onto a loose ball in typical Abila fashion, then with his left (30'), showing off his lovely control before leaving no doubts about his finish. 

Peru's vice champion would not give up that easily though. They equalized right before halftime. Horacio Calcaterra did his best Abila impression and was there when goalkeeper Díaz could not hold onto the ball. He fired it high into the net for a 2-2 score at the break.

As the game went on, Huracán were a little better defensively, which ultimately kept them out of the same trouble they experienced in the first 45. Nevertheless, when looking at the match statistics, you can see Sporting Cristal amounting more shots than the home team. Surely an achievement the Peruvians must be applauded for against a team that did really well in Argentina's Primera División so far this season. 

After 68 minutes, El Globo retook the lead through Alejandro Romero. Montenegro, who had a really good game in midfield, laid the ball out to the wing, from where Abila crossed to Romero. His shot was well-placed, but looked like it could have been saved by Diego Penny. 

Ezequiel Miralles' header (84') ended the last doubts as to who would leave the pitch as winner tonight. Mauro Bogado found the substitute with a decent freekick cross from the right and Miralles scored with his first touch of the game. Huracán will take their win, Cristal feel a little hard done by. The home team's efficiency was the key to their success on the day and puts them above the Peruvians in the table as well. 

Huracán have 6 points, Cristal have 4. They both trail Atlético Nacional (12), but stay ahead of Peñarol (1).

Deportivo Táchira celebrate their winning goal. (Photo:
An indirect freekick was all Deportivo Táchira needed to get by Emelec. Wilker Ángel scored the winning goal 21 minutes in, after the Venezuelans created a lot of confusion among Emelec's defenders. At the end, the ball was tapped to Ángel whose shot was deflected into the bottom right corner. 

Emelec was the slightly better team on the night, which did not help them. The 1-0 loss eliminates them from the Copa Libertadores this season. Surely a disappointment for the ambitioned Ecuadorians. If Pumas beat Olimpia or draw tonight (5am CET), Deportivo Táchira will advance to the round of 16, joining the already qualified Mexicans from Group 7. 

Both have 9 points currently, while the bottom two, Olimpia and Emelec, have 4.


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