Stoppage Time – International Football Blog

Big names to kick off 2013 Copa Libertadores

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on January 20, 2013

Corinthians won their maiden Copa Libertadores title in 2012. Who will win the trophy in 2013?

The Copa Libertadores kicks off on Tuesday with twelve teams fighting it out for the six remaining places in the group stages which begin on February 12th.

The biggest team in the first stage of the competition are Brazilian giants São Paulo, a former three-time winner of this competition, who qualified for the Libertadores on the back of a controversial triumph in South America’s second tournament, Copa Sudamericana, at the tail end of 2012. São Paulo, leading 2-0 in the second leg of the final Argentinian side Tigre, were accused of intimidation during the half-time interval by their opponents who refused to come out for the second half. São Paulo were, therefore, awarded their first Sudamericana and also rewarded with a place in the more celebrated Libertadores and will face off against Bolívar in the first stage. Tigre, fortunately for them, qualified for the Libertadores on the back of being the best performing team from Argentina in the Sudamericana who hadn’t already qualified for the Libertadores via domestic competition. They will be big favourites to reach the group stages when they get their campaign started against Venezuelans Deportivo Anzoátegui.

Two former winners of the competition will meet with Brazilians Grêmio, winners in 1983 and 1995, paired with LDU Quito. The Ecuadorians were a dominant force in South American football in 2008 and 2009 when winning both the Libertadores and Sudamericana in those respective years but have only claimed one national title in the three years since then and qualified for this competition on the back of their 3rd place finish in Ecuador last year. Olimpia of Paraguay is another former three-time Libertadores champion having to start this year’s campaign early and will be involved in a tough two-legged encounter with Uruguayans Defensor Sporting. The remaining two fixtures involve clubs who have yet to win an international club title with Peru’s Universidad Cesar Vallejo making their debut in this tournament against Colombia’s Deportes Tolima whilst Chile’s Deportes Iquique will meet Mexicans CSD León.

Whoever makes it through the first stage of the competition will then look forward to mixing with the elite of South American football. Defending Libertadores champions Corinthians, who defeated Boca Juniors 3-1 in last year’s final to claim their maiden title, have an easy looking group on paper and should make it past Bolivians San José, Colombians Millionarios and Mexicans Club Tijuana. Last year’s losing finalists Boca Juniors feature in an interesting looking group which also involves Uruguayan giants Nacional, Ecuador’s FC Barcelona de Guayaquil and Mexicans Deportivo Toluca. All of the other six groups will be known upon the completion of the first stage.

“O Timão” on top of the world leaves Chelsea feeling blue

Posted in European Football, South America Football, UK Football by peterbein on December 16, 2012

Corinthians celebrate their second FIFA Club World Cup title following their 1-0 victory over Chelsea FC

The recent European dominance in the FIFA Club World Cup came to an end today in Japan’s second city of Yokohama as Copa Libertadores champions Corinthians became world champions for the second time with a narrow 1-0 defeat of UEFA Champions League holders Chelsea FC in a final which will hardly go down as a classic but which for followers of O Timão will go down as another chapter in their famous history.

Since fellow Brazilian club Internacional of Porto Alegre won the 2006 version of the FIFA Club World Cup, South American teams had struggled in this competition with European champion clubs winning the previous five tournaments in a row including two victories for FC Barcelona (2009, 2011) and one each for AC Milan (2007), Manchester United (2008) and Internazionale (2010). Corinthians’ victory in today’s final broke the dominance and added to Brazilian football’s wonderful history in this tournament with four title wins comparing to their South American neighbours, no other nation from that particular continent providing a winner of this tournament since it changed its format in 2005.

Corinthians had won the inaugural version of this event in 2000 when a dour final, played against compatriots Vasco da Gama, was decided by a penalty shoot-out following 120 minutes of goalless action. The second title win will perhaps be more celebrated due to the fact that Chelsea FC went into the game as most pundits’ favourites to win the title. Chelsea had qualified for the final with an easy 3-1 win over North and Central American champions Monterrey CF whilst Corinthians had to work harder to overcome the challenge of African champions Al-Ahly in a semi-final which was decided by a single goal from the Brazilians’ Paolo Guerrero, whose presence would ultimately also prove influential in the final.

With twenty minutes remaining, and the game stuck at 0-0, the deadlock was finally broken when Guerrero took advantage of some confused Chelsea defending to head home from close range and spark a mass frenzy of celebration amongst the Corinthians supporters, up to 30,000 of whom are said to have made the journey to Japan to transport the spirit of their São Paulo home Pacaembu stadium to FIFA’s showpiece event.

For interim Chelsea coach Rafael Benítez, the winning coach when Internazionale won the title in 2010, today’s final was a bitter disappointment and there is no doubt that those fans who have failed to warm to him will use this as a stick to beat him with. For Corinthians’ coach Tite, however, legendary status is now assured. Having taken over the coaching role in 2010, Tite led the Paulista club to their fifth Campeonato Brasiliero title in 2011 before sealing the club’s first ever Copa Libertadores title this year following a 3-1 aggregate win over six-time South American champions Boca Juniors. With the world title now in the trophy cabinet it is fair to say that Tite will bask in the celebrations as much as those fans who travelled all that way to see their team triumph in Japan.

Brazil: Big kick-off awaits new Brasileiro season

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on May 18, 2012

No sooner have Brazil’s vast array of localized state championships reached their conclusion does the time come for the national championship to commence. The “Brasileiro” is now in its 41st year and the quality of the competition has increased in recent years thanks to the adoption of a standard round robin league format, as used in many of Europe’s top leagues, which has brought about many a dramatic finish since it was introduced in 2003.

Corinthians are the defending Brazilian champions having pipped Vasco da Gama to the 2011 season title with just two points separating the top two as the Timão sealed their fifth national crown in dramatic fashion. Corinthians were involved in a big derby clash against São Paulo city rivals Palmeiras whilst Vasco were due to face off against their eternal rivals Flamengo CF in Rio de Janeiro on the last day of the campaign. Corinthians could only muster a goalless draw at home to Palmeiras but, with the visitors thinking that they had done enough to deprive their arch-rivals of the title, news came through that Vasco had blown their big chance, dropping two points with a 1-1 draw.

The allocation of places for the South American club tournaments has certainly played its part in helping to create a more interesting domestic championship. At the end of the season only four clubs will finish in a league position (i.e. from 13th to 16th) with virtually no meaning other than league safety. The top four, along with the winners of the domestic knockout competition “Copa Brasil”, qualify for South America’s premier continental competition Copa Libertadores whilst the next eight teams qualify for the secondary tournament Copa Sudamericana. The bottom four, meanwhile, go straight down into Serie B with famous clubs such as Grêmio, Corinthians and Vasco da Gama having seen the drop at some point over the last decade which is an indication as to how competitive this league has become.

Four clubs – Corinthians, Santos FC, Vasco da Gama and Fluminense – may lose some of their focus in the first few weeks of the season as they play out the latter stages of this year’s Copa Libertadores competition, which is currently at the quarter-final round, but should feature prominently as the Brasileiro season progresses. Out of that quartet, Santos and Fluminense have had state championship success to celebrate over the past seven days; the former defeated Guarani in the Paulista final to win their 20th São Paulo title whilst the latter got the better of Botafogo to claim their 31st Carioca state crown. Amongst the other state title winners in the Brasileiro include Internacional of Porto Alegre (Campeonato Gaúcho), Coritiba (Paranaense), Atlético Mineiro (Mineiro) and EC Bahia (Baiano) with those clubs have varying degrees of potential for success in this year’s national championship. Famous clubs such as São Paulo FC and Cruzeiro will have their eyes on one of the South American spots with the former hoping to win their first title since the famous “Tri-Campeão” season of 2008 in which they won the Brasileiro for the third successive year, the first time a club had accomplished that feat in the modern era.

This season’s Brasileiro begins this weekend and is due to finish in early December. In the first round of matches Corinthians will begin their title defence with a home tie against Fluminense, Vasco da Gama welcome Porto Alegre giants Grêmio whilst Santos FC, champions in 2010, must travel to face EC Bahia. Other stand out fixtures on the opening weekend sees São Paulo FC play host to losing Carioca state finalists Botafogo, three-time champions Internacional face off against Coritiba and 2003 champions Cruzeiro play against Atlético Goianiense. The four teams that were promoted from Serie B last season will also begin their campaigns. Portuguesa, promoted as Serie B champions, begin with a difficult away tie against Palmeiras whilst Club Náutico also find themselves on the road with an away day at Figueirense. Ponte Preta and Sport Recife, on the other hand, will begin the new season with home fixtures, the former against Atlético Mineiro and the latter face up to the challenge of Flamengo CF.

WATCH THE CONCLUSION OF THE 2011 BRASILEIRO SEASON HERE:

FIFA: Club World Cup Team Guide – Santos FC

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 9, 2011

Santos FC club badgeBrazilians Santos FC will participate in their first ever FIFA Club World Cup and are hoping to take the title back to South America after a five year period of domination for European clubs. Santos FC, who are based in Brazil’s second city of São Paulo, will face the winner of the quarter-final between Japanese champions Kashiwa Reysol and North and Central American CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey CF on December 14th. Should Santos overcome that challenge then a meeting with UEFA Champions League holders FC Barcelona looks the most likely prospect. Having won the old Intercontinental Cup on two occasions back in the halcyon days of Pelé back in the sixties, Santos would revel in winning a world title in its current guise.

Santos qualified for this tournament by virtue of winning their third Copa Libertadores title in 2011, the club’s first win in this competition since 1963. Santos finished second, by virtue of goal difference, in their group behind Paraguayans Cerro Porteño and ahead of Chileans Colo Colo and Venezuelans Deportivo Tachira with a record of three wins, two draws and one defeat in six games. In the knockout phase Santos scraped past Club America in the Round of 16 and 2004 Copa Libertadores champions Once Caldas in the quarter-finals before meeting group rivals Cerro Porteño again in the semis. Having won that round by the odd goal in seven, Santos ended the campaign with a narrow 2-1 aggregate win in a bad-tempered final against Peñarol. Following a goalless first leg in Montevideo Santos made home advantage count in the return fixture. Neymar put Santos ahead just a minute into the second half before Danilo doubled their advantage twenty minutes later. The Uruguayans reduced the arrears with ten minutes remaining to set up a nervous finish but the Brazilians held on to win the Libertadores for the third time in their history.

Since Santos lifted the South American crown back in June they have been involved primarily in their national championship and, with the comfort blanket of a place in next year’s Copa Libertadores already assured, finished the league season in a comfortable tenth place in the 20 team Serie A. If Santos are to lift the FIFA Club World Cup this year they ought to remember not to get too complacent before their semi-final tie against supposedly weaker opponents especially after last season’s Libertadores winners, Internacional of Porto Alegre, went crashing out to African champions TP Mazembe in the semi-finals of the tournament played in the United Arab Emirates.

SANTOS FC v PENAROL FC – COPA LIBERTADORES FINAL, 2ND LEG

Brazil: Corinthians seal fifth title in tight Brasileiro finish (video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on December 4, 2011

The Brazilian national championship has made a habit of last day climaxes in recent years and this season’s competition is no exception. Corinthians (Played 38, Points 71) won their fifth Brasileiro tonight, their first league title since 2005, following a goalless draw against arch rivals Palmeiras. This came at the expense of Vasco da Gama who, needing all three points in the event of a slip up by Corinthians, were only able to draw 1-1 at home to Flamengo in another high profile derby match. On a day in which Brazilian football legend Socrates passed away, it was perhaps a fitting tribute to him that one of his old clubs should go on to win the title. Socrates served the São Paulo based club with distinction from 1978-84 in what was his most productive spell with any one club.

It was derby day in Brazil as the national federation had decided that the final round of matches should produce some thrilling drama on the last day and they weren’t disappointed. Although Corinthians’ match with Palmeiras remained goalless both teams were reduced to nine men as each side battled to get one over the other in a derby where there is no love lost and in which emotions certainly ran high with confrontations amongst the players commonplace throughout the game. Palmeiras thought they had ruined Corinthians’ title party by getting the draw but news came through of Vasco’s draw with Flamengo which prevented the former from overtaking Corinthians in the standings, the margin between the top two teams remaining at two points. Just to add a little spice to that encounter there were two red cards in that game as well, one for each side.

But it wasn’t just at the very top of the table where things were interesting. With places in next season’s Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana to be sorted and relegation matters to be resolved at the bottom there were very few teams playing tonight for whom nothing mattered. Fluminense and Flamengo got the point they needed to secure Copa Libertadores placings for next season along with Internacional who, in the Porto Alegre derby, got the better of arch foes Grêmio by a 1-0 score line. Santos FC (2011 Copa Libertadores champions) and Vasco da Gama (2011 Copa Brasil winners) were already assured of their Libertadores places for next season before tonight’s games took place.

Copa Sudamericana places went to eight clubs - São Paulo, Figueirense, Coritiba, Botafogo, Palmeiras, Grêmio, Atletico Goianiense and EC Bahia – whilst four clubs were unfortunate to experience that sinking feeling as Avaí, América Mineiro, Ceará SC and Atlético Paranaense were relegated into Serie B next season. Cruzeiro of Belo Horizonte and Atlético Mineiro were lucky to stay in the top flight as they finished just two and four points above the relegation zone respectively.

CORINTHIANS v PALMEIRAS MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Copa Libertadores: Past meets present for 2011 final (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on June 14, 2011

Copa Libertadores logoThe 2011 Copa Libertadores final will see two of South America’s pioneering club sides take the competition back to its halcyon days of the 1960s. Uruguayan giants Peñarol are one of the grand old clubs of the continent having won South American football’s greatest club competition on five occasions, just two behind record champions Independiente. Their opponents Santos FC also have a rich history in the tournament having won back-to-back titles in 1962 and 1963 in the days of the legendary Pelé. The former of those two triumphs for Santos came at the expense of their upcoming opponents Peñarol and, for that reason alone, ensures an intriguing clash pitting the past with the present day.

Peñarol are back in the big time after reaching their first final since they last won the trophy back in 1987. In the group stage Peñarol finished second in Group 8 after a closely fought four-way battle for the two places saw them finish just one point behind group leaders LDU Quito and one and two points ahead of Argentinian sides Independiente and Godoy Cruz respectively. Their knockout adventure began in the Round of 16 with a difficult tie against defending champions Internacional Porto Alegre. Their task seemed all the more daunting after they only claimed a 1-1 draw at home in the first leg but somehow Peñarol emerged triumphant with a 2-1 victory in the Brazilians’ back yard. That 3-2 aggregate win saw them face Chilean champions Universidad Católica in the quarter-finals from which they progressed by the same aggregate score line. Argentinians Vélez Sársfield, who have just won their eighth domestic championship, stood between Peñarol and a place in the final and a tight affair was won via the away goals rule with a 1-0 home win for the Montevideo club followed by a 2-1 defeat in Argentina.The away goal from Matias Mier secured Peñarol a welcome return back into the Libertadores final after an absence of 24 years.

Santos FC were involved in Group 5 of the competition along with Paraguay’s Cerro Porteño, Chile’s Colo Colo and Venezuelan whipping boys Deportivo Tachira. A slow start to the tournament saw Santos pick up just two points from their first three games and an early exit from the competition looked a distinct possibility. However the Peixe managed to win their final three group matches to finish on equal points with Cerro Porteño whose superior goal difference ensured them the top place finish while Colo Colo trailed both teams by just two points. Santos’ first opponents in the knockout phase came from Mexico; Club America were defeated by the only goal in a tight two-legged tussle allowing Santos to meet surprise 2004 Libertadores winners Once Caldas in the last eight. Following a 1-0 win in Caldas’ home ground in Colombia, Santos held out by drawing the return fixture 1-1 to set up another double header with group rivals Cerro Porteño in the semi-finals. A tight home fixture for Santos was decided by Edu’s 43rd minute strike which they took to the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion for an eventful second leg which saw both teams share six goals between them in a 3-3 draw, thus ensuring Santos’ progression with a 4-3 aggregate victory taking them to their first Libertadores final since they lost out to Boca Juniors in 2003.

Much of the build up to this game has reflected upon the past as it has the present with history recalling that these teams met in the 1962 final. The Copa Libertadores was a much smaller tournament in those days with just ten teams participating. Santos got the better of Cerro Porteño and Deportivo Municipal in a mini-group before defeating Universidad Católica 2-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals. Peñarol, meanwhile, had a bye straight to the semi-finals of the tournament following their 1961 title win and they overcame the challenge of eternal rivals Nacional after a three game series in which each team won one game with the final game drawn. Peñarol went through having scored five goals to Nacional’s four in the three games and thus set up their famous encounter with Santos.

Santos FC were away in the first leg but came away with a 2-1 victory, Coutinho’s double strike cancelling out Alberto Spencer’s opener for Peñarol. In the second leg it was Peñarol’s turn to emerge triumphant with Spencer’s brace followed by a José Sasia winner in their 3-2 win on Brazilian soil. This set up a third and final game which was played in neutral Buenos Aires where an Omar Caetano own goal was followed by a brace from Pelé to seal a 3-0 win for Santos gifting them their first Libertadores title.

Could tournament top scorers Neymar (Santos) and Juan Manuel Oliveira (Peñarol) write themselves in the tournament’s history books and help seal their team’s next Libertadores triumph? The first leg will be played in Montevideo on June 15th with the return leg in Santos on June 22nd.

WATCH 1962 COPA LIBERTADORES FINAL GOALS HERE:


CONMEBOL: Open field in Libertadores quarter-finals

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on May 11, 2011

Copa Libertadores logoWith the quarter-finals approaching in the Copa Libertadores each of the eight teams remaining in the competition will fancy their chances of winning the trophy.

This is due to the fact that the two traditional powers of South American football, Brazil and Argentina, whose clubs usually take up a good proportion of representation at this stage, only have two clubs between them going into the last eight of this year’s tournament. The two clubs concerned, Santos FC and Vélez Sársfield, will be most people’s favourites to go all the way this year but they still have some way to go before lifting the big one.

Santos FC, whose two triumphs in this competition date back to the early 1960′s, will face 2004 champions Once Caldas. The Colombian club are last season’s national champions and currently lead the way in the Torneo Apertura with a two point lead over three other teams in the quest for play-off places (the top eight teams progress after 17 games). Santos, on the other hand, failed in their quest to win the Campeonato Paulista and have yet to begin their national championship which kicks off on May 21st. Vélez Sársfield, in contrast to the Brazilians, are deep into their domestic campaign and lead the way with a four point advantage over surprise challengers Godoy Cruz in the Torneo Clausura. The Argentines face Club Libertad in the quarter-finals with the Paraguayan side yet to record a win in this tournament, the nearest they came was in 2006 when they were unfortunate to go out to eventual champions SC Internacional.

Roberto Nanni

Cerro's Roberto Nanni is the Libertadores top scorer so far

Cerro Porteño are the other Paraguayan team remaining in the tournament and they, like Club Libertad, are hoping to create history by becoming only the second different club from their country after three-time Libertadores champions Olimpia Asuncion to reach a final. Cerro Porteño, who have the tournament’s top scorer Roberto Nanni on their books, have given up on the domestic Torneo Apertura title (they lie in seventh place) and have decided to put all of their eggs in the Libertadores basket. Their opponents are the Mexican club Jaguares de Chiapas who recently finished with the worst record in the 18 team Primera División and have also opted to save their strength for the arduous Libertadores campaign. The final quarter-final match-up sees Chilean champions Universidad Católica take on Uruguayan giants Peñarol, both of whom are mixing strong domestic campaigns with a good run in this competition. Universidad, who finished Libertadores runners-up in 1993, lead their national championship by five points from Universidad de Chile. Peñarol, on the other hand, recently lost out in the big one against Nacional and are three points adrift of their arch rivals in second place. Nevertheless they will take heart from their run in this competition which they last won in 1987 and are desperate to add a sixth title in the trophy cabinet after 24 long years.

The first legs take place on May 11-12 with the return fixtures on May 18-19.

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South America: Nine former winners remaining in Libertadores

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on April 21, 2011
Wallyson

Cruzeiro striker Wallyson was crucial to his sides progress to the next round

After a marathon group phase of the competition the Round of 16 draw for the 2011 Copa Santander de Libertadores is now complete. The line-up sees nine former champions of the tournament feature with six of them facing-off in the next round.

Defending champions SC Internacional Porto Alegre, winners of Group 6, meet Uruguayan six-time winners CA Peñarol who scraped second place in the tighest group of all. Group 10 was topped by LDU Quito who squeezed past Peñarol by one point and who were two and three ahead of Argentine clubs Independiente and Godoy Cruz respectively, both of whom narrowly miss out on the knockout stages. LDU, champions in 2008, meet another one-time former champion in Vélez Sársfield with both teams in great form on the domestic stage (both are top of their national leagues) and hoping to compliment that with international honours. The final game involving former winners will see Brazilians Cruzeiro, clear winners of Group 7, face Group 1 runners up Once Caldas with the Colombian side underdogs going into their Round of 16 match-up.

Rafael Sobis

Rafael Sobis scores for champions Internacional

Other group winners were Paraguayans Libertad (Group 1), Colombian outsiders Junior Barranquilla (2), Mexicans CF América (3), Chilean champions Universidad Católica (4) and Paraguayans Cerro Porteño (5). Those clubs will face tough challenges in the Round of 16 against Brazilian champions Fluminense, Mexican outfit Jaguares, two-time Libertadores winners Santos FC, Brazilians Grêmio Porto Alegre and 2009 champions Estudiantes de La Plata respectively. The Round of 16 matches will be played on April 26-28 (first leg) and May 3-5 (second leg).

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South America: Neymar can’t mask fury at red card (+video)

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on April 7, 2011

Brazilian wunderkind Neymar was sent off in bizarre circumstances during a Copa Libertadores match on Wednesday night.

Santos FC were already 2-0 ahead in their Group 5 match against Chileans Colo Colo when Neymar popped up to score a beautiful goal in the 53rd minute to increase the São Paulo outfit’s lead to three goals. During Neymar’s goal celebration a mask was thrown from the crowd and the young star put it on. Although the mask turned out to be one of the player himself the referee failed to see the funny side to Neymar’s antics and proceeded to give him a second yellow card, therefore earning himself a red one in the process. Neymar, understandably, was furious at the decision to expel him from the pitch but he did end up smiling in the end as his team, despite a nervy last ten minutes, held out for a 3-2 win. The win was crucial for the Brazilians as they lie third in the group, one point behind Colo Colo and three behind leaders Cerro Porteño with two games to play.

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CONMEBOL: Junior FC remain 100% at halfway point

Posted in South America Football by peterbein on March 11, 2011

Copa Libertadores logoThe Copa Libertadores, South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, has seen most of the teams reach the halfway point in the group stages. With a significant proportion of Matchday 3 completed with the remaining ties to be played next week Stoppage Time – International Football Blog reviews the latest events in the competition so far.

Junior FC, from the Colombian city of Barranquilla, are the only team with a 100% record after three games. They have enjoyed wins against each of their Group 2 opponents, namely Gremio Porto Alegre, Leon de Huanuco and Oriente Petrolero, and have a great chance to be one of the first qualifiers for the knockout stages. Paraguayans Club Libertad and Cerro Porteno hold the leadership in their respective groups following a good week for the Asuncion-based sides. Libertad top Group 1 following a 5-1 win over previous leaders Universidad San Martin whilst Cerro Porteno’s 1-1 draw against Venezuelans Deportivo Tachira means that they have a two point lead over Chilean record champions Colo Colo who have a game in hand.

There are mixed fortunes for the Argentine contingent in this competition with only two of the nation’s five representatives topping their group. Argentinos Juniors lead the way in Group 3 after a 1-0 win away at three-time former champions Nacional Montevideo. Group 8 saw an Argentine derby on Thursday night with Godoy Cruz defeating Copa Sudamericana holders Independiente 3-1 to ensure that the former goes top of the standings and the latter remains rooted at the bottom. Estudiantes de La Plata, winners of the competition in 2009, lie second behind Cruzeiro in Group 7 following a 2-1 win at Paraguayan side Guarani. Things haven’t gone so well for 1994 champions Velez Sarsfield as they lost 2-1 to Chileans Union Espanola and remain fourth in Group 4 which is currently topped by Venezuelan champions FC Caracas who have won two of their three games, most recently against second place Universidad Catolica on Wednesday.

Brazilian teams are also enjoying mixed fortunes with Cruzeiro impressing so far in Group 7 although their winning start was halted this week thanks to a goalless draw away at Deportes Tolima in Colombia. Defending champions Internacional didn’t play this week but remain in second place and can go back on top with a win over Bolivian side Jorge Wilstermann next Wednesday. Santos FC also didn’t play this week but can go top of Group 5 if they overcome the challenge of Colo Colo on Wednesday. Fluminense are struggling in Group 3 lying in third place, five points adrift of leaders Argentinos Juniors.

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