This week’s round of Copa Libertadores fixtures saw a mixed set of results for Argentine sides. On Wednesday night Tigre managed to maintain perhaps an outside chance of qualification by beating Palmeiras at home. With the game heading for a draw, a result which would not have helped either team too much Tigre managed to snatch a winner deep into injury time courtesy of defender, Gabriel Peñalba. Thursday night saw Boca try and bounce back from Saturday’s humiliating defeat but things didn’t go according to plan and they were defeated 1 – 0 in La Bombonera by Nacional. Arsenal were also in action and travelled to Brazil for a clash with Sao Paulo. The chances of qualifying still look very slim but Arsenal got a very respectable 1 – 1 draw. ALL THE GOALS AND TABLES HERE….
TIGRE 1 – 0 PALMEIRAS
Tigre knew that anything less than a win over Palmeiras would leave them all but out of this year’s competition so when defender Gabriel Peñalba scored the only goal of the game in the 94th minute it prompted wild celebrations. Palmeiras are currently playing in the second tier of Brazilian football following last season’s relegation but are competing in the Libertadores courtesy of a cup triumph and so are probably the weakest of the Brazilian representatives but going into the game were in a healthy position in Group 2. This game could have gone either way and in stoppage time both teams were pushing for a goal, moments earlier a last ditch tackle stopped what should have been a goal for Palmeiras and then moments later Tigre had an opportunity to get the ball in the box via a free kick. The resulting set piece waas headed back across goal and left Peñalba the simplest of finishes. The group is now wide open with all four teams able to qualify.
BOCA JUNIORS 0 – 1 NACIONAL
Boca Juniors continue to struggle and once again conceded a goal from a set piece as they fell at home to Nacional of Uruguay. The only goal of the game came after 20 minutes when a corner from the left was met by Andres Scotti and his thunderous header gave Agustin Orion no chance. Juan Roman Riquelme answered any questions over his fitness with his second 90 minutes in the week. Again, he proved to be at the centre of everything Boca did but was unable to create a way back into the game. Nacional had Daniel Betancor sent off late on for two bookings but were unable to hold on. Boca, meanwhile, will be hoping that Riquelme’s return and promising signs of a partnership with Juan Manuel Martinez will soon bring a change of fortunes. Group 1 is still pretty open with Nacional taking a step towards qualification with this win but that could all change if Boca could reverse this result in Uruguay.
SAO PAULO 1 – 1 ARSENAL
In Group 3 Arsenal de Sarandi got their first point of their campaign and kept any chances they have alive with a hard fought draw in Brazil. After last week’s mauling against Atletico Miniero this could have been another Brazilian inspired nightmare with Sao Paulo boasting several big names. One of those players, Jadson, who was brought back to Brazil after a period with Shakhtar Donetsk, gave them the lead just before half time smashing a shot off the underside of the bar. Another of the returning stars, Luis Fabiano, then found himself making the headlines as he was sent off after remonstrating with the referee. He has since complained of racial abuse that he received from the Arsenal players and was incensed by the referee’s inaction over this (we may hear more about this later). The night got worse for Sao Paulo just after half time when a penalty was given for handball and Dario Benedetto confidently converted it. Arsenal held on for the point but will need to better this result at home if they are to stay in the competition.