The first legs of the quarter final fixtures in the Copa Libertadores were completed last night and three of the ties remain very delicately poised ahead of the return matches next week.
In the all Argentinian clash, Boca Juniors were held to a goalless draw in their Bombonera stadium by Newell’s Old Boys and they will be without Guillermo Burdisso for the trip to Rosario as he received his marching orders in the third minute of injury time at the end of the second half. Newell’s Old Boys will now be favourites to progress to the semi finals as they are currently flying high at the top of the Primera Division whereas Boca are having a terrible domestic season and languish down in 18th place. However, Newell’s Old Boys will have to end their current five game winless run against Boca.
Meanwhile in northern Mexico, Xolos de Tijuana continued their good run in the competition by taking a 2-0 lead against strongly fancied Atletico Mineiro of Brazil. Striker Dubier Riascos gave the Mexicans a half time lead and Fidel Francisco Martínez Tenorio doubled their advantage early in the second half to rattle the Brazilians. However, they struck back through Diego Tardelli and salvaged a last minute equaliser from substitute Luan to put themselves in a strong position with two away goals. Nevertheless, they will be aware that Tijuana went away to Palmeiras in the last round having drawn the home leg and won 2-1 in Sao Paolo.
The other tie that rests on a knife edge is the clash between Brazilian champions Fluminense and Olimpia of Paraguay, which finished 0-0 on Wednesday night in Rio. Olimpia will be buoyed by that result and the chance to take on Abel Braga’s team on equal terms back in Asuncion next week, but they will be without midfielder Eduardo Lorenzo Aranda, who was sent off late on.
The first quarter final was a much more one sided affair and looks to be done and dusted as Santa Fe of Bogota recorded a 3-1 away win against Real Garcilaso at their Andean stronghold in Cusco. Two goals in three first half minutes from Francisco Meza and Wilder Medina gave the Colombians a dream start and Jefferson Cuero made it three early in the second half before Alfredo Ramua struck back to salvage some pride for the Peruvians, who had missed a golden opportunity to pull a goal back in the first half when Paraguayan midfielder Fabio Ramon Ramos missed a penalty. Real Garcilaso now face an uphill struggle in Bogota next week.