Thursday, 21 April 2011

Copa Libertadores group stage complete

And finally the Group Stage of the 2011 Copa Santander Libertadores comes to a close. We review the final eight matches

Group 1

Libertad 2-0 San Luis
Universidad San Martin 0-2 Once Caldas

Libertad were already through in Group 1 but boosted their seeding for the Round of 16 after two early goals gave them victory over San Luis and dent their slim hopes of qualifying. Jorge Gonzalez put Libertad ahead with eleven minutes gone and Nicolas Pavlovich doubled the lead six minutes later. The big winners of the night were Once Caldas who jumped from bottom of the table into the qualifying zone after victory over Universidad San Martin in Lima. Wason Rentería put Once Caldas ahead with sixteen minutes gone and Mathias Mirabajes doubled the lead with fifteen minutes left. Frustration set in for the home side, Adan Balbin was sent off with ten minutes to go and he was followed by Orlando Contreras in injury time.

Group 3

Nacional 0-0 América
Argentinos Juniors 2-4 Fluminense

Fluminense were also big winners when the last two games of the Group Stage took place, with no goals in Montevideo between Nacional and América ensuring the Mexicans qualified for the Round of 16. Fluminense scraped into next stage with a 4-2 win over the River Plate at Argentinos Juniors, Júlio César put Fluminense ahead with 18 minutes gone but Santiago Salcedo levelled from the spot six minutes later. Fluminense talisman Fred restore the Tricolor lead five minutes before the break but they were pegged back again nine minutes after the break by Gustavo Oberman and Argentinos Juniors were still in the hunt to qualify. Rafael Moura restored the Fluminense lead mid way through the second half and Fred's penalty a minute from time wrapped things up to give Flu a win the Brazilian press have described as sensational.

Group 5

Santos 3-1 Deportivo Táchira
Colo Colo 2-3 Cerro Porteño

Santos needed a win at home to Deportivo Táchira to give them any hope of getting into the Round of 16 and they delivered, handing the Venezuelan side their fourth straight defeat to eliminate them. Neymar set Santos on their way in the fourth minute and Jonathan Cícero doubled the lead nine minutes later. Gerson Chacón halved the lead with twenty minutes to go but Danilo restored the two goal cushion three minutes later. Colo Colo crashed out of the competition after surrendering a two goal lead at home to Cerro Porteño. Leading the group going into Matchday 6 Colo Colo took the lead through Cristobel Jorquera with just four minutes gone and they were last 16-bound when Esteban Paredes doubled the lead with twenty minutes gone. Jonathan Fabbro gave Cerro Porteño hope when he pulled a goal back two minutes before the break and they levelled three minutes after it through Ivan Piris. With two minutes to go Colo Colo were still in a qualifying spot before a second from Fabbro grabbed Cerro Porteño top spot in the group.

Group 6

Jorge Wilstermann 2-1 Jaguares
Internacional 2-0 Emelec

Despite falling to defeat in Bolivia at Jorge Wilstermann, Mexican side Jaguares made it into the last 16 courtesy of holders Internacional's victory over Emelec. Jaguares made a decent start in Bolivia when Julio Frias put them ahead with seven minutes gone but he will miss the opening Round of 16 clash after getting sent off five minutes after the break.
Jorge Wilstermann took full advantage of the extra man, Fabio Mineiro levelled with fourteen minutes left and Nicolas Torres won it eight minutes from time to give Jorge Wilstermann their first victory. With the Premier Sports TV cameras in attendance, Internacional denied Emelec a place in the Round of 16 after a 2-0 win at the Beira-Rio. Rafael Sóbis put Inter ahead seven minutes after the break and Leandro Damião wrapped things up six minutes from time.

Unlike the UEFA Champions League the 16 qualified teams will be seeded in the knockout stages according to their results in the group stage. The Group winners are seeded 1–8, the Group runners-up seeded 9–16.

The First Leg games are scheduled for next week but this is subject to change. (Seeds in brackets)
Once Caldas (16) v Cruzeiro (1)
Santos (9) v América (8)
Jaguares (13) v Junior (4)
Estudiantes (12) v Cerro Porteño (5)
Fluminense (15) v Libertad (2)
Vélez Sarsfield (10) v LDU Quito (7)
Peñarol (14) v Internacional (3)
Grêmio (11) v Universidad Católica (6)

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