Weekly Round-Up: All the action from Matchday 2 in the Libertadores group stage

Home sides dominate on second matchday of Libertadores group stage.


Group A


On a mixed night for the Ecuadorian sides, two teams established themselves as clear front runners in group A.

Reigning Sudamericana champions Independiente del Valle made it back to back 3-0 wins as they confidently dispatched Junior of Colombia on Wednesday night. The Ecuadorians controlled possession with Junior looking to exploit the space on the counter.

The home side found it difficult to make the breakthrough until Fernando Guerrero fired a spectacular long-range strike to open the scoring.

Junior pushed for an equalizer but talented 18 year old midfielder Moises Caicedo scored another excellent goal before Lorenzo Faravelli made it a hattrick of golazos for this very talented side. The result for IDV makes it six goals scored, no goals conceded and six points from their opening two games.

Brazilian giants Flamengo also recorded their second win of the tournament with an assured 3-0 victory against Barcelona. Barcelona like to counter and focus on efficient, pacey breaks but Flamengo’s assured, confident football was too much on the night. Flamengo usually like to keep the ball on the ground but it was two headed goals from Gustavo Henrique and a penalty from Gabriel Barbosa that secured a comfortable win.

Barcelona and Junior desperately need three points in the next round of fixtures to put pressure on Flamengo and Independiente del Valle after a flying start.


Group B


Palmeiras sit atop Group B after an impressive 3-0 win against Paraguayan side Guaraní. Classy striker Luiz Adriano showed great composure to score a very tidy hattrick with Rony, Dudu and Willian proving themselves an impressive, dynamic creative force in behind.

Raul Bobadilla showed great technique to pluck the ball out of the sky and clip it beyond Weverton in the Palmeiras goal in the final minutes but the Brazilians won’t mind too much, celebrating an impressive home win.

Both Bolívar and Tigre produced chances in their match high up in La Paz, but despite Bolivar creating the more clear cut openings, it wasn’t until an Enrique Flores wonder-strike that they were able to take the lead. Flores shaped to cross deep on the left side of the field but then wound up for a fierce near post drive that left the Tigre keeper with no chance.

The visitors pushed for a response but when Erwin Saavedra spun in the box and fired in a second, the game was over with the Bolivians taking an important three points.
 


Group C


After two games we are all level in Group C with each team sitting on three points, with each of the home teams having held serve.

After a disappointing start last week in Cochabamba, Colo-Colo bounced back with a courageous home win against a talented Athletico Paranaense side. The Chileans came out on the front foot and Pablo Mouche headed the home side in front following some excellent wing play from Bolados on the right.

Athletico stepped up their intensity after the goal but Colo-Colo were able to repel the Brazilian attacks while still retaining a threat on the break. A huge win for the Chileans who will once again fancy their chances in a tight group.

After a good home win in their opening game, Jorge Wilstermann will feel they missed an opportunity to add to their points tally away in Uruguay. The Bolivians kept it tight in the first half despite some prolonged pressure and when Peñarol's Abascal was given a straight red after halftime, they must have a sensed an opportunity.

Hopes were dashed shortly after however when Peñarol took the lead after Wilstermann's Alejandro Meleán diverted a dangerous cross into his own net. Wilstermann pushed to equalize late but a couple of missed chances, some commited defending and passionate home support helped Peñarol over the line.

It's now all to play for in Group C, with Wilstermann narrowly topping the group on goal difference.


Group D


Peruvian champions Binacional secured an impressive win on their Libertadores debut at home against a strong São Paulo side but came emphatically unstuck away against River Plate.

River scored eight goals with Casco, Santos Borre, Carrascal, Rojas, Diaz, Matias Saurez all scoring, plus a double from Ignacio Fernandez that rounded off a perfect night for Argentines. Binacional will fancy their chances at home returning to altitude but will need some sharp improvement if they are to keep their qualification hopes alive.

São Paulo too bounced back from a disappointing away loss with a comprehensive home win at the Morumbi against Liga de Quito. Reinaldo settled any nerves from the penalty spot and moments later Dani Alves doubled the lead with Antony causing all sorts of problems for the visiting Ecuadorians.

Igor Gomes added a third his impressive performance deserved in the second half and a Junior Sornoza red meant the Brazilian giants could comfortably see out a resounding home win.


Group E


This week's action in Group E was headlined by the first ever Libertadores derby between Grêmio and Internacional, and while the evening finished goalless, the encounter wasn't without it's drama. While the first 70 minutes can best be described as tense, the final 20 sprung to life, with both sides earning chances to win it. After an on-field incident left both sides with only 8 players for the final 10 minutes, and with the pitch wide open, Grêmio nearly snatched the points late. 

As it stands, each sit on 4 points atop the group, with the return group stage match in Internacional's Beira-Rio sure to be highly anticipated.

América de Cali meanwhile picked up a huge away win in Chile against Universidad Católica to bring them back into contention in Group E. The pacey, inventive Duvan Vergara was quickest to pounce on a loose ball to head the Colombians into an early lead. Marcelino Núñez equalized with a spectacular freekick on the stroke of halftime to lift the Chilean support, but América came out with renewed energy after halftime and Matías Pisano calmly finished off a slick counter-attack to secure a big three points in Santiago for the Colombians.


Group F


Estudiantes de Mérida were again beaten narrowly by a ssecond half winner as they continue to show their resilience, organization and commitment. For many, the Venezuelans were the underdogs in this group but they have proven to be tricky opponent so far. A classy Felipe Carballo strike gave the Nacional an important three points at home in a game where both sides looked to play. Credit to the visitors, but Nacional will be very happy after picking up back-to-back Libertadores wins.

Alianza Lima looked to limit Racing on their visit to Argentina and were happy to go in at halftime goalless. Racing dominated possession and camped high in the Peruvian’s half for much of the game but it wasn’t until Nicolas Reniero cut inside and fired a powerful shot that they were able to take the lead.

Alianza showed more attacking intent late but the Argentines were able to see out the result despite a late scare.

Nacional and Racing have made a perfect start to the group, despite having to battle to narrow victories in their respective openers. With both sides on six points, each will feel confident that they've taken the first step to progression out of the group.


Group G


Santos made it two wins from two after picking up a narrow home victory over Delfín thanks to a first half Lucas Verissimo header. The goal motivated the Ecuadorians to play some more expansive football and they played some nice stuff, but failed to create the big chance they needed to equalize.

This inevitably left them more open at the back with Santos' classy playmaker Yeferson Soteldo creating some opportunities for the Brazilians. Santos ultimately secured the narrow win to ensure they go into the third game with maximum points.

Olimpia will be delighted to have won the points at home against a dangerous Defensa y Justicia side despite the adversity of finishing with ten men.

Carlos Rolon scored an excellent header after an acrobatic leap on 60 minutes to put the Paraguayans in the driving seat. Making his first Libertadores start, Emmanuel Adebayor was shown a straight red for a dangerously high foot shortly after, giving motivation to the visitors.

With many in attendance preparing for a nervy end to the game, Brian Montenegro powered a header beyond Unsain in the Defensa y Justicia goal. This was a huge lift to Olimpia’s chances and, despite a late Marcelo Benitez goal for the visitors, they were able to secure the win.


Group H


Libertad were eventually able to wrestle back the points from energetic Venezuelan visitors Caracas in Paraguay on Tuesday night. Carlos Ferreira gave the home side the lead but a first half double from Contreras and Blanco for Caracas meant it would be a long, hard night for the hosts. Ferreira latched onto a knock down in the box to volley Libertad level before a second yellow for Villanueva would give the Paraguayans a man advantage for the final fifteen minutes.

Ivan Franco eventually pounced on a loose ball to score a late winner for Libertad which meant they go into game three with maximum points, while Caracas have shown themselves a dangerous outfit despite having collected just a solitary point from their opening two matches.

Still celebrating after their Argentine league title won at the weekend, Boca Juniors bounced back from a disappointing draw in their opener to secure an impressive home win against Independiente Medellín.

The Argentines had a fairly slow start to the game with DIM looking like they might even be able to take a lead at La Bombonera. Chances came and went for the visitors and once Salvio headed the hosts in front, Boca never looked back in a game that looked comfortable in the second half.

Salvio added a second on 57 minutes and Emanuel Reynoso whipped a beautiful freekick to add a third on an excellent night for the new Argentine champions.

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