2018 Copa Libertadores Round-Up: Group Stage match day 4
Another Copa Libertadores week is in the books. South America’s biggest club competition continues in its group stage. As the midway-point approaches, the teams capable of progressing are revealed, while other sides struggle to keep pace.
Here's what happened.
|Match Day Four||Tuesday|
|Defensor Sporting, Uruguay||3-1||Moanagas, Venezuela|
|Cerro Porteno, Paraguay||0-0||Gremio, Brazil|
|Millonarios, Colombia||4-0||Deportivo Lara, Venezuela|
|Match Day Four||Wednesday|
|The Strongest, Bolivia||1-2||Atletico Tucuman, Argentina|
|Independiente, Argentina||0-1||Corinthians, Brazil|
|Flamengo, Brazil||1-1||Independiente Santa Fe, Colombia|
|Libertad, Paraguay||2-1||Penarol, Urugauy|
|Match Day Four||Thursday|
|Racing, Argentina||4-0||Vasco de Gama, Brazil|
|Universidad de Chile||0-0||Cruzeiro, Brazil|
|Emelec, Ecuador||0-1||River Plate, Argentina|
|Alianza Lima,Peru||0-2||Junior, Colombia|
Here are the four biggest takeaways from the Copa Libertadores this past week.
Four Argentinian teams were in action. Three came away with victories. The lone disappointment was Independiente, losing to Corinthians - the reigning Brasileirao champions are contenders for this campaign's Copa Libertadores.
Argentina's three winners all produced solid displays in tough environments. First, Atletico Tucuman. Not much was expected travelling to La Paz to face The Strongest, but the Argentines came away with a crucial 2-1 victory. Nicolas Romat's goal of the tournament contender broke the deadlock for El Decano.
River Plate and Racing both conquered, too. In Ecuador, Los Millionarios secured a vital 1-0 win against Emelec. Racing's emphatic 4-0 victory over Brazilian side Vasco da Gama placed them atop Group E. The competition is strong with Cruzeiro and Universidad de Chile also involved, but Eduardo Coudet’s men are thriving under pressure to perform at the highest level.
Teams from Brazil are always candidates to lift the Copa Libertadores trophy. Although this year is no different, the past week's results were hugely disappointing. Five Brasileirao sides took to the pitch, yet only Corinthians escaped with three points.
After drawing in Chile, Cruzeiro’s situation reaches a pivotal stage next week in Belo Horizonte. Raposa must win against Universidad de Chile to retain realistic hopes of progressing. Picking up only a point against Paraguayan side Cerro Porteño means Gremio also still have work to do.
Brazilian sides must improve performances in the Copa Libertadores before it’s too late.
Another beautiful goal!
Romat was not the only player to score a stunner this past week. Oscar ‘Tacuara” Cardozo is well-known throughout the footballing universe. As well as representing Paraguay 51 times, the striker tore up Portugal's Primeira Liga while at Benfica.
Cardozo now plays for Libertad Asuncion in his native country. During the 2-1 comeback win over Peñarol, the 34-year-old struck in the last minute.
Goalkeeper Kevin Dawson should have covered his near post better, but Cardozo's precision was sublime. It definitely has potential as the 2018 Copa Libertadores Goal of the Season, unless the select committee drops a clanger.
Libertad rising as contenders?
The Asuncion-based team deserve attention. Libertad have an experienced squad loaded with quality. They top Group C - over Peñarol, Atletico Tucuman and The Strongest - after taking a maximum nine points. A spot in the next stage is all but confirmed.
Perhaps it is too early to tag Libertad title contenders. They are surpassing expectations, though. The Paraguayan side are certainly one to watch going forward.