Defensor Sporting knew beforehand how difficult the match against Bolívar would be - and that's not including the obvious geographical location issues. They wanted to keep a strong backline and take advantage of opportunities which presented themselves. However they didn't expect to be playing against 10-men after the 27th minute when Heber Leaños stamped on a Defensor player. But the sending off didn't change either side's style. The Uruguayans left La Paz with a very good result but the match will also leave a sour taste in their mouth. No one expected the performance from Jorge Pereyra Díaz as he dragged Bolívar back into the contest.
Gastón Rodríguez, Defensor's goalkeeper, played a key role in keeping his side in contention. Bolívar, with 11 or 10 men, constantly swarmed forward looking to score. With Callejón and, at times, Riquelme the Bolívar attack was hard to keep under control. They won freekicks in dangerous positions and made sure Rodríguez was kept busy. The keeper's best save came early in the second half to deny the home side an equaliser.
The home side continued to dominate the match and penned Defensor in their own half. The first problem was the sending off and the second was Defensor's counterattacks. Martín Rabuñal's opener looked to crush the Bolivan side's dreams.
With the lead, Defensor began to relax. 'El Tata' González started to the move the ball around a lot more. Pablo López was on the left wing and from there he began to find time and space in which to attack. And sure enough, it was López who made it 2-0. A wonderful solo goal as he beat his marker inside the box before delicately chipping it over the keeper from the tightest of angles.
However Bolívar didn't feel sorry for themselves and through Pereyra Díaz, found their guiding light. He scored two goals in five minutes to bring the home side level.
Even at 2-2 the tempo of the game didn't slow down, if anything, it became even more intense. In a packed stadium in La Paz, the noise and atmosphere never stopped. However for all the support the home side were receiving from the crowd it was two further moments of magic which would hand Defensor the victory. López was at the heart of his side's third goal as he dribbled his way into the box before he was brought down by Viscarra. Álvaro Navarro stepped up to convert the spot kick.
And deep into injury time it was Laquintana who made sure of the result. On a counterattack he ran just inside Bolívar's half and let fly with an ambitious effort that the keeper couldn't keep out. The referee sent off Riquelme and Castillón which meant Bolívar finished the match with just 8 players on the field. It'll be difficult for Bolívar in the second leg as Defensor claimed everything they needed in the first leg.