2018 Copa Libertadores Round-up: Group Stage match day 2
The 2018 Copa Libertadores second week is in the books. Here is a quick review of the results, as well as the biggest takeaways from recent action.
Match Day 2 results
Tuesday, March 13
|Vasco de Gama||(Brazil)||0-1||Universidad de Chile||(Chile)|
|Cerro Porteno||(Paraguay)||2-1||Defensor Sporting||(Uruguay)|
Wednesday, March 14
|Estudiantes La Plata||(Argentina)||3-0||Real Garcilaso||(Peru)|
Thursday, March 15
Atletico Nacional look like a viable contender and even though they have only played two matches in the competition. In their first match they defeated Colo Colo but the 4-0 romp against Delfin stated their intent. The Colombians seem ready to mount a title challenge in a tough group that also includes Bolivar. It is quite early in the tournament, but we might be witnessing a potential darkhorse title challenger. Don't sleep on Los Verdolagas.
Home fires burning
Colo Colo had a rough start against Atletico Nacional but I'm happy to say Match Day 2 was a good week for Chilean sides. Colo Colo escaped with a draw from La Paz's 3,600m altitude much to Bolivar's dismay. Universidad de Chile stole three points from Vasco da Gama thanks to a goal from Angelo Araos in the second half. Both teams have tough roads to reach the next round. Results this week suggest they're on the right path.
Vasco lost a winnable game against Universidad de Chile but the other Brazilian sides lived up to expectations. Santos delivered a strong effort at both ends of the pitch in their 3-1 win over Club Nacional at home. Flamengo strutted to a 2-1 win over Emelec on the road. Star forward Vinicius Junior, who is headed to Real Madrid when he turns 18, scored a brace. He might be ready to move to Spain despite his many naysayers.
Don't be shy Uruguay
Uruguayan sides didn't have a good week. Defensor Sporting lost against Cerro Porteno in a crazy game that ended with Diego Churin scoring the winning goal in stoppage time. He was offside but South America hasn't mandated VAR yet. Penarol looked outmatched in their 1-0 loss to The Strongest in Bolivia. Nacional didn't have any answers in their 3-1 reversal to Santos in Brazil. Uruguayan football is not as strong as it was in the past. Young talent is being syphoned off to wealthier, burgeoning leagues like MLS. Still it is quite hard to find a week where all its representatives have lost.
One more surprise
Atletico Nacional is a potential sleeper but it would be fair to include Cerro Porteno in that category as well. The Paraguayan giants have a very experienced side. Experienced veterans Juan Rodrigo Rojas and Diego Churin carry the team. They have won their first two games, against Monagas and Defensor Sporting. The Cyclone is a team worth watching going forward.