Weekly Round-Up: Guaraní shock Corinthains, Barcelona & DIM shine, plenty of ties sit finely balanced

Take a look back at the week that was in the CONMEBOL Libertadores.

The most eye-catching scoreline is surely Guaraní’s 1-0 home win against Corinthians, a result that sets up a truly intriguing return leg next week in São Paulo. Guaraní are hoping to create magic just like they did in 2015, when they knocked out Corinthians in the Round of 16 behind a home win and a surprise in the Arena Corinthians. This time around their lead is a single goal, with Jorge Morel’s eighth minute strike holding up for the hosts. 

Corinthians pressured, but Timão were left without an away goal and in need of a victory, potentially by multiple goals, in next week’s return leg. 

If the eye-catching scoreline was Guaraní-Corinthians, the eye-catching performance may just have been Javier Reina’s brace, with an assist to boot, in Independiente Medellín’s 4-0 win over Deportivo Táchira. Reina started his night with an early penalty conversion, then capped it with an upper-ninety shot rocket to extend the lead to 3-0.

Táchira will have it all to do next week while DIM have sent a warning side to any and all future opposition. 

If DIM avoid becoming the victims of a Táchira miracle, the Colombians would face the winner of the tie between The Strongest and Atlético Tucumán, a tie the Bolivians now hold a 2-0 advantage in after this week’s meeting in La Paz. 

The task was always going to be difficult for Tucumán at altitude, and while it took the Bolivians until the end of the first half to open the scoring, their second goal, a total team effort that included both a nutmeg and an impressive back-heel pass, may prove to be the one that has handed them a decisive advantage in the tie.

Tucumán will hope that a return home will help turn the tide in their favor, but anything less than a pair of goals from the Argentines in the second leg will see them out of the competition.

Uruguayan side Cerro Largo made their Libertadores debut against Palestino, a match that finished 1-1. The hosts scored first, with Enzo Borges popping up for the first goal in Cerro Largo’s Libertadores history. Cerro Largo were reduced to 10 men a few minutes before half time, and after a period of huffing and puffing, Palestino were able to take advantage in the second half when Jonathan Benítez struck from distance. 

Lima’s El Monumental hosted the dramatic Libertadores final in 2019, and in 2020 has already hosted a pair of matches for Peru’s Universitario. On Wednesday, it was the site of a 1-1 draw between the hosts and Cerro Porteño. Jonathan Dos Santos, who scored for Universitario in the first phase, opened the scoring early on in the second half, but his effort was fairly quickly cancelled out by Cerro Porteño’s Óscar Ruiz slamming home a free-kick rebound. Whoever advances in next week’s second leg will meet the winner of a tie between Barcelona and Sporting Cristal

The Ecuadorians took one giant leap towards the third phase with a resounding 4-0 win in Guayaquil on Thursday evening. In front of an impressive crowd in Guayaquil, Barcelona picked up right where they left off last week, scoring a pair of goals in the opening 15 minutes. Fidel Martínez, who scored twice against Progreso in the first phase, scored the opener and also added another in the second half, giving him four goals for the tournament and a very early spot atop the golden boot race. 

In other action, Universidad de Chile and Internacional opened the week with a tense 0-0 first leg draw while Jaminton Campaz struck from distance in the second half to lift Deportes Tolima to a 1-0 win away from home against Macará

Next week will see the return leg for each of the eight second phase ties, with the sixteen teams whittled down to eight, from which only four will advance to the group stage.

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