Red Cards Galore! - Copa Libertadores Matchday 3 Round-up
The international break is finally over, which means this week match-day 3 of the Copa Libertadores took place. This now indicates that all the teams have played everybody in their group at least once, and this marks the halfway stage in the group competition, things are beginning to take shape. This week featured nine red cards - it's like the players had been left in the cages over the international break and eventually let loose during this game week taking it too far!
In Group A this week the Defending Champions, River Plate, who are struggling for form so far having drawn their first two games faced a tough trip to Brazil to face International who went into the game having won both of their matches without conceding any goals. Internacional started the game quickly out of the blocks, and on the 18 Minute, a looping shot by Nicolas Lopez went into the back of the net. Then moments later International added a second goal through Edenilson, leaving the champions with a mountain to climb. River was given a questionable penalty which Lucas Pratto converted just before half-time to make it 2-1.
The second half was end-to-end with Internacional trying to kill the game off and River trying to force an equaliser, which they did grab in the 61 Minute mark Nicolas De La Cruz scored a beautiful free kick. The game would go on to finish 2-2. Both teams scored with their only shots on target -not a day for keepers!
The other game in the group was between, Palestino of Chile and Alianza Lima, the match was won by the home side, who charged to a 3-0 victory putting them in a good position at the halfway point. Alianza Lima will be unhappy with Luis Ramirez who picked up two yellow cards and will miss the next match.
Cruzeiro, continued their 100% winning start with an away victory over Emelec. The only game of the game came from Rodriguinho, who scored with a lovely dink over the keeper from close range.
Deportivo Lara beat struggling Argentine outfit Huracan, and the match finished 2-1. Lara scored all the goals in this affair as Bernaldo Manzano scored for both sides after deflecting a shot into his own net while his team was 2-0 up. David Francisco Centeno Bracho scored the other goal in the game. The game, however, ended up with both sides reduced to 10 men before the final whistle - Shocking!
Olimpia managed an impressive away victory against Sporting Cristal of Peru. The first half ended goalless with only one shot on target. The second half, however, didn't live to that billing as former Blackburn Striker Roque Santa Cruz got the scoring underway early into the second half. Goals from William Mendieta and Rodrigo Rojas meant a 3-0 win would put them top of group C at the halfway mark (on goal difference).
The other game in group C took place in Chile between C.D. Universidad de Concepción and Godoy Cruz. The game was the only goalless draw of the week. The main talking point from the game was a red card for Universidade Defender Guillermo Pacheco for two bookable offences. Godoy Cruz had the majority of the play, and the chances due to their numerical advantage but couldn't find the net.
San Jose of Bolivia took on LDU Quito in an exhilarating encounter. This game featured six goals including three own goals. It was the side from Quito who took the lead through former Chigaco fire striker Juan Anagono. Moments later Carlos Saucedo pulled things level. A brace of own goals from Veteran Defender Cesar Mena made it 3-1 to LDU. Then Christian Cruz decided he wanted to get on the scoresheet by scoring an own goal to make it 2-3, with the equalizer coming with 77 minutes on the clock from Bolivian international Rodrigo Ramallo.
The early two front-runners in group D went head to head in Rio De Janeiro, with Home side Flamengo taking on Penarol. The game didn't come alive until the second half when Flamengo's centre forward Gabriel had a goal ruled out for offside. It clearly wasn't Gabriel's day as he went on to get sent off with fifteen minutes left to play following a reckless tackle from behind. The red card would prove costly for Flamengo as a late header from Lucas Vitari was enough to beat the Flamengo Goalkeeper and take the 3 points back to Montevideo which sees Penerol lead group D.
Asunción based club Cerro Porteno made it three wins from 3 with a 1-0 Victory over Nacional thanks to a goal from Midfielder Victor Caceres. A very impressive start from the Paraguayan side who will be looking to keep up the good form during the second half of the group stage.
Zamora went into the game against Atletico MG as massive underdogs, but first-half goals from Erickson Gallardo and Guillermo Paiva gave them a surprising 2-0 at the break. Atletico MG managed to pull their finger out in the second half and made an impressive comeback. Maicon started the comeback with a bullet header thanks to a cross from Luan. Vinicius made the tie all square when he turned a shot past the keeper. Atletico were gifted a chance to win the game from the spot following a handball inside the area, and Fabio Santos stepped up and smashed the ball into the back of the net which turned out to be the winner, sending hardworking Zamora back to Venezuela empty-handed.
In Group F Brazilian Champions Palmeiras Struggled away at San Lorenzo. The game finished 1-0 in favour of the home side with the only goal of the game coming on the 51st minute thanks to a strike from outside of the box by 20-year-old Marcelo Herrera. The result means San Lorenzo lead group F with Palmeiras one point behind in second.
Melgar took on struggling Colombian champions Junior who are still yet to score in the competition after they lost their 3rd successive game in the Libertadores it was Giancarlo Carmona who got the winning goal from a corner as Melgar went on to win by a goal to nil.
Current Sudamericana holders Athletico PR destroyed last years Libertadores runners up Boca Juniors in Curitiba. Athletico started the game pilling the pressure on Boca this paid dividends 36th Minutes in former Dynamo Kiev striker Marco Ruben scored from close range to give his side a 1-0 lead at the break. In the second half, Ruben was at it again as he added a second following a quick counter-attack from the Brazilian side. Ruben wrapped up his hat trick and the points in the 81st Minute with another close-range effort. An impressive 3-0 victory for Athletico PR who lead group G following their big win.
In the other game in group G Deportes Tolima took on Wilstermann. Two goals from Tolima forward Marco Perez looked like it would be enough to give the Colombian side the points. However, this was not the case as two quick goals from Ricardo Pedriel would make sure the match ended level. Wilstermann backup goalkeeper was sent off late on for an incident off the pitch.
Libertad added to their two wins with another victory over Rosario Central in the match that Libertad dominated through-out which was shown in their 2-0 victory. This made them along with Cruzeiro and fellow Paraguayan side Cerro Porteno the only teams to win a maximum 9 points out of 9. A header from Mathias Espinoza and a stupendous long-range strike from Jorge Recalde was enough to give them the win.
Gremio finds themselves in real trouble after a 1-0 defeat away in Chile to Deportivo Universidad Católica. An early strike from Sebastian Saez was enough to give the home side the win. Gremio had the majority of the ball but in truth, they never really looked like scoring leaving them with hard work to do in the remaining three games.