The third week of Copa Libertadores action resumed last night with Argentine sides involved in two interesting ties. Velez Sarsfield travelled to Uruguay to face Peñarol, a crunch match as not only will it probably decide the outcome of Group 4 but Velez lost in the semi final to Peñarol in 2011. Velez took control of the group with a narrow victory courtesy of a late goal from Lucas Pratto. Meanwhile, in Buenos Aires, Arsenal hosted Brazilian side Atletico Miniero. The Brazilians boasting Ronaldinho and former Manchester City striker, Jo, gave Arsenal a night to forget, thrashing them 5 -2 and leaving them with a huge task to qualify to the next stage. Currently bottom of Group 3, Arsenal next have back to back matches with Brazilian giants, Sao Paulo where defeat would surely see them eliminated at the first hurdle. GOALS AND REPORTS HERE…..
PEÑAROL 0 – 1 VELEZ SARSFIELD
The re-run of 2011’s semi final saw Velez travel to Montevideo to try and avenge their defeat from that year. A close game was decided in the 87th minute when substitute Jonathan Copete broke down the left and his cutback was side footed confidently into the net by Lucas Pratto. The win puts Velez top of the Group 4 level on 6 points with Peñarol so it is important that Velez can defeat them again when they meet next week in Buenos Aires.
ARSENAL 2 – 5 ATLETICO MINIERO
Arsenal’s hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of this years Libertadores look slim after last nights comprehensive beating at the hands of Atletico Miniero. The Brazilian sides attacking flair supplied by legend, Ronaldinho, Manchester City flop, Jo, Diego Tardelli and young starlet, Bernard proved too much for Arsenal. Arsenal took an early lead when Julio Furch fired them in front but it didn’t take long for Miniero to take control of the game. In the 7th minute they were level when Ronaldinho’s precise pass over the top found Bernard to smash home the equaliser. Diego Tardelli put them in front in the 29th minute and five minutes later it was 3 when Jo converted a cross from the left. Arsenal got themselves back into the game before half time when Nicolas Aguirre’s inswinging free kick eluded everyone to cut the deficit to just one but the second half belonged to the boys from Brazil. In the 53rd minute Bernard capitalised on a defensive error to claim his second of the game and minutes later he completed his hattrick when he was able to tap in a rebound following a great pass from Ronaldinho and an attempt by Jo. Ronaldinho finding space in his number 10 position was able to create all manner of chances but his night was slightly spoiled by a missed penalty later on after nearly being crippled by one of the worst examples of a two footed challenge!
Next up for Arsenal is another home game against Sao Paulo before travelling to Brazil for the return. A win is desperately needed from one of these games if Arsenal are to progress.