COPA Libertadores - Matchday 1 Round-Up
This week marked the start of the 2019 group stage of the CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores. Which I’m sure if you are from England, you wouldn’t have had any idea about, which is a disappointment really considering the media attention both legs of the final received in 2018, maybe this would have attracted more media outlets to report on the competition for this year, but that is not to be the case.
The stand-out game of the week took place in Chile, between CD Universidad de Concepción and Sporting Crystal who put on show a fantastic nine-goal thriller.
The first half of the game was looking like it was going to be level at the break with no real good chances for either side, that was until right at the end of the second half in added time a lovely counter-attack was finished off by Patricio Rubio, which would be the first one many.
Five minutes into the second half, a cross from Nicolas Orellana was met once again by Rubio who unleashed a thunderbolt half-volley past the hopeless keeper to put the home side two goals up.
Within eight minutes of going 2-0 up, Universidad switched off defensively, and Sporting found themselves all square again thanks to goals from Christofer Gonzales and Cristian Palacio.
Sporting Crystal then pilled on the pressure forcing Universidad goalkeeper, Cristian Munoz to make a number of saves, which eventually managed to pay off when Universidad regained their two-goal advantage thanks to goals from Nicolas Orellana and Rubio who completed his hat-trick with another vicious volley putting them 4-2 up with 10 Minutes remaining.
Sporting did not give up hope however as forward Emanuel Herrera fired in a volley at the back post from a corner and two minutes later Sporting Crystal got themselves on level terms again following a header from Cristian Palacios who looked to have got the goal which would earn his side a well-earned point. Unfortunately for him, this would not be the case as Rubio had one more volley left in him to snatch the points for the side from Chile.
Brazilian giants Flamengo, battled through a tricky fixture away in Bolivia taking on San Jose, who were on top for most of the game and will feel very hard done by without managing at least to gain a point. Flamengo who were under the cosh for most of the game managed to sneak back to Brazil with all three points thanks to a tidy finish from their 22-year-old striker Gabriel.
Boca Juniors, who were runners up in last year's competition, took part in a stalemate with Jorge Wilstermann of Bolivia. There was no real chances on offer for either side with the Bolivian team opting a shoot on site method with the majority of there opportunities coming from outside the box.
Holders River Plate started off the defence of their crown with a 1-1 draw to Peruvian side Alianza Lima. The host pulled in to a one-goal lead, the goal coming from Jose Manzaneda.
River Plate pushed for an equaliser and halfway through the second half they had an opportunity from the spot to do so. Up stepped Rafael Borre who found his penalty saved by the goalkeeper, a save which looked like it was going to be enough to earn his side the points. Until in the 96th Minute teenager, Cristian Ferreira managed to break Alianza's barrier to share the spoils.
Results Elsewhere in the COPA Libertadores GROUP STAGE 2019
Godoy Cruz 0-0 Olimpia
Melgar 0-0 San Lorenzo
San Jose 0 -1 Flamengo
J Wilstermann 0-0 Boca Juniors
Libertad 4-1 U Catolica
Tolima 1-0 Athletico PR
Athletico MG 0-1 Cerro Porteno
Palestino 0-1 Internacional
U DE Conception 5-4 Sporting Crystal
Junior 0-2 Palmeiras
Roasario 1-1 Gremio
Zamora 0-1 Nacional
Huracan 0-1 Cruzerio
LDU Quito 2-0 Penerol
Lara 0-0 Emelec