CONMEBOL: Corinthians shocked; Libertadores round-up (+video)
Brazilian giants Corinthians are out of the 2011 Copa Libertadores before the group stage due to their Wednesday night defeat to Colombians Deportivo Tolima. Copa Sudamericana holders Independiente had it tough but managed to overcome Deportivo Quito in their qualifying match whilst the likes of two-time Libertadores champions Grêmio Porto Alegre, Jaguares de Chiapas, Cerro Porteño and Unión Española also booked their place in the league stage of South America’s elite club competition.
The misery goes on for Corinthians who, having never held the famous old trophy aloft in their history, were hoping to make a decent fist of it this time. Sadly for the São Paulo outfit they were made to regret their inability to find the back of the net in their first leg tie at home to Deportivo Tolima who sealed the deal with a 2-0 victory in the second leg on Wednesday, progressing by the same score on aggregate. The crucial goals were scored in the second half by Danny Santoya and Wilder Medina which gave the Colombian side an unexpected slot in the group stages where they’ll face off against four-time winners Estudiantes de La Plata, two-time winners Cruzeiro and Paraguay’s Club Guaraní in Group 7.
WATCH SECOND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:
Matías Defederico and Julían Rodríguez had given Independiente a two goal first leg lead in their Libertadores tie against Deportivo Quito but the side from the Ecuadorian capital would not allow their opponents to go through unchallenged in the return fixture on Wednesday night. Although Deportivo were able to win the game they could only claw back one of the two goals needed to take the game into extra-time. Michael Quiñónez scored the only goal of the second leg in the 57th minute but despite having half an hour left with which to restore parity it proved to be beyond them. Independiente will meet another Ecuadorian side in Group 8 in the form of LDU Quito, who won this tournament in 2008, as well as Uruguayan giants Peñarol and compatriots Godoy Cruz.
Brazilian giants Grêmio have played themselves into arguably the easiest group of the competition after defeating Uruguayan club Liverpool FC with a 5-3 aggregate scoreline. A frantic opening 25 minutes in Montevideo saw all of the goals scored in a 2-2 first leg draw and with defences not being a speciality of either side further goals were inevitable in the return leg in Porto Alegre on Wednesday. Emiliano Alfaro gave Liverpool the lead after 34 minutes in the second leg but the joy was short-lived as André Lima equalized just three minutes later. A second half brace from Vinícius Pacheco proved the difference as the Brazilian side’s superiority got them through in the end. Grêmio will meet Junior (Colombia), León de Huánuco (Peru) and Oriente Petrolero (Bolivia) in Group 2.
WATCH SECOND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE:
Mexican side Jaguares de Chiapas are through to the next stage of the tournament after easily seeing off the weak challenge of Peruvians Alianza Lima. Both legs of this one-sided contest ended up with a 2-0 scoreline with Antonio Pedroza scoring a goal in each game to help his side go through to Group 6 where they’ll face defending Libertadores champions SC Internacional amongst others.
Thursday night action saw Cerro Porteño progress at the hands of Deportivo Petare with Roberto Nanni’s first leg winner proving crucial as the second leg was drawn 1-1. Unión Española also went through by a one goal margin against Bolívar, Fernando Cordero’s first leg winner was enough to secure yet another qualification for the Chilean club. Cerro will meet Santos, Colo Colo and Deportivo Táchira in Group 5 whilst Unión Española will compete against Vélez Sársfield, Universidad Católica and Caracas FC in Group 4.