Apologies for the slight delay in bringing this week's Copa Santander Libertadores round up as the race for Semi-Final spots hots up.
Peñarol 2-0 Universidad Católica
Peñarol took a huge step to yet another semi-final appearance when they took a two goal cushion over Chile's Universidad Católica at the Estádio Centenário in Montevideo. The hosts had Católica Chilean internation goalkeeper Paulo Garces to thank for their lead as his two errors gifted Peñarol their advantage. In the 37th minute Garces dropped a harmless looking cross and Juan Manuel Olivera tapped home to open the scoring. With the tie finely balanced and poised with next weeks clash in Santiago looming, Garces played the joker card again, spilling a harmless ball into the box and Alejandro Martinuccio pounced to double the Peñarol advantage.
Once Caldas 0-1 Santos
Muricy Ramalho's Santos sneaked into the Round of 16 by the skin of their teeth, but as the last Brazilian side in the competition they put themselves in good stead for a semi final berth after a 1-0 victory over Once Caldas in Colombia in an action packed game. Even without the injured Paulo Henrique Ganso and a second leg of the Paulista final looming they won the game when Ganso's replacement Alan Patrick latched onto a Neymar pass to beat Luis Enrique Martinez three minutes before the break. Once Caldas will be without Elkin Calle for the second leg after he was sent off for a professional foul on Neymar on the hour. Elano almost doubled the lead six minutes after but his free kick smashed back off the woodwork and in a frantic finale after Santos decided to hold onto their lead, Once Caldas had a penalty claim waved away after Bruno appeared to bring down Wason Renteira.
Vélez Sarsfield 3-0 Libertad
Vélez also took a huge stride towards a semi final spot after a convincing victory over Libertad at La Bombonera. Vélez were forced to move the game to the home of Boca Juniors after the AFA closed their ground after incidents in their previous home game against Banfield. Vélez took the lead with twenty minutes gone when Maximiliano Moralez fired home a Augusto Fernandez cross. Libertad should have levelled five minutes before the break, Manuel Maciel was one on one with Marcelo Barovero but his attempted lob ended up in the grateful keepers hands. Fifteen minutes from time Vélez doubled their lead after Juan Manuel Martínez was hauled down by Libertad keeper Tobias Vargas and he brushed himself off to slot the penalty home. Vargas was to blame for the Vélez third, allowing a Martínez shot to slip through his hands and into the net. Vargas redeemed himself in injury time, just managing to fend away a free kick from Ricardo Álvarez. Three goals is a lot to pull back in Asunción next week, four would have been impossible
Jaguares 1-1 Cerro Porteño
In Tuxtla Gutierrez, Cerro Porteño gave themselves a solid base for the second leg next week after a 1-1 draw against Jaguares. Roberto Nanni should have put Cerro Porteño ahead when he was one-on-one with the goalkeeper but he messed about too long and was denied by Fabian Villaseñor in the Jaguares goal. Cerro Porteño took the lead seventeen minutes from time when Fredy Bareiro found Jonathan Fabbro and he placed the ball into the Jaguares net. It looked like Cerro Porteño would have an advantage to take back to Paraguay next week but they were pegged back three minutes into added time when Antonio Pedroza headed home from a Guillermo Rojas cross to send the teams to Asunción on level terms
The second legs all take place next week and are all live on Premier Sports TV
Libertad v Vélez Sarsfield (WED 2330 BST)
Santos v Once Caldas (THU 0200 BST)
Universidad Católica v Peñarol (FRI 0000 BST)
Cerro Porteño v Jaguares (FRI 0230 BST)
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