Still three phases from reaching the group stage, it will be a marathon for any of these sides if they’re to find themselves in the group stage, let alone in Rio. But every dream starts with a single performance, and that’s what each of the three teams playing away from home this week were able to come up with.
On Tuesday, Peruvian side Universitario collected a 1-1 draw against Venezuelan opposition Carabobo. After a tight first half, it was the Venezuelans that struck early on in the second half for the first goal of the 2020 Libertadores.
— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@TheLibertadores) January 22, 2020
Tortolero’s strike looked like it might give Carabobo an advantage to take to Lima next week, but Universitario began to grow into the match as the second half wore on. Jonathan Dos Santos, the Uruguayan brought into the club this offseason, took advantage of a poor clearance by a Carabobo defender, pouncing on the loose ball and striking his side even.
💪🇵🇪⚽ Jonathan Dos Santos struck to pull @Universitario level with @Carabobo_FC in the opening match of the 2020 #Libertadores! pic.twitter.com/ABAt7C7805 — CONMEBOL Libertadores (@TheLibertadores) January 22, 2020
Universitario’s away goal will make them slight favorites to advance, but a single goal from Carabobo could be enough to turn the tie on its head when the two meet again on Tuesday in Lima. The winner of the tie will advance to face Cerro Porteño in the second phase. Wednesday’s doubleheader started in the thin air of Oruro Bolivia where despite the huffing and puffing of the hosts San José, Guaraní came out 1-0 winners.
The hosts held 75% of the possession, and rattled the post on two separate occasions, but a San José side in transition lacked the finishing touch to put the match away, and late on Guaraní were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box.
💪⚽🇵🇾 Cool as you like from the captain! Javier Báez slotted home from the spot to lift @ClubGuarani to victory against @CDSJOficial! #Libertadores pic.twitter.com/XmvFrTZuZu — CONMEBOL Libertadores (@TheLibertadores) January 23, 2020
Guaraní’s tight result puts them in pole position heading into next week’s return leg in Asunción. Whoever advances from the tie will face Corinthians in the second phase.
The final match of the week featured the most impressive performance as Barcelona dropped Progreso 2-0 with a goal in each half.
The Uruguayans, featuring in the Libertadores for the first time in 30 years were game for the occasion, but the technical ability of Barcelona shone early and often, especially in the 14 pass sequence that led to the opening goal.
🤩🇪🇨⚽ A fantastic extended passing sequence led to @BarcelonaSC's opener against @ProgresoOficial tonight in Montevideo! #Libertadores pic.twitter.com/6u4LWDSIBg — CONMEBOL Libertadores (@TheLibertadores) January 23, 2020
Barcelona doubled their lead early on in the second half with Argentine midfielder Damián Díaz, a standout performer on the night, placing the ball perfectly for Emmanuel Martínez, whose strike beat the onrushing Progreso goalkeeper.
From there, Barcelona controlled the occasion and now return to Guayaquil with a comfortable advantage for next week’s return leg. Whoever advances will meet up with Sporting Cristal in the second phase.
Full highlights from each of this week's matches can be found here.