Arsenal did all that was required of them last night, winning 2 – 1 in Sarandi against The Strongest but they still found themselves eliminated from this year’s Copa Libertadores on goal difference. Sao Paulo’s win over fellow Brazilians Atletico Miniero meant that they grabbed the second spot. Miniero’s 100% record prior to last night meant that they had already topped the group and guaranteed number 1 seeding and so they had little to play for, to the advantage of Sao Paulo. This group was always going to be difficult and so it proved as Arsenal’s two thrashings at the hands of Miniero were decisive. In Group 1, Boca Juniors were already sure of their place in the next round but needed a win if they were to top the group and get a good seeding for the next stage. Sadly, for Boca their long trip to Mexico to face Toluca ended in a 3 – 2 defeat and so, despite Nacional also losing, Boca finished in second, facing a potentially very tricky draw. FOR REPORTS AND GOALS READ MORE….
TOLUCA 3 – 2 BOCA JUNIORS
Boca welcomed Juan Roman Riquelme back to the side in the hope that they could snatch first spot in Group A but not even the presence of the great number 10 could prevent Boca shipping more sloppy goals and losing 3 – 2. On paper, the damage is not too bad, after all they are through to the knockout stages, but a lowly seeding could see them pitched against some of this year’s favourites making further progress difficult.
Carlos Bianchi will be furious at the goals that Boca conceded. The first after 9 minutes, a simple pass which dissected his defence was clinically finished by Edgar Benitez Santander, the second a free header (even though there was a handball in the buildup) and the third, another unmarked header from a corner, both dispatched by Flavio Santos. Equilising twice, first through Leandro Somoza and then through Guillermo Fernandez, showed real resiliance but throwing it away is criminal. Boca will now be hoping for some luck when they find out their next opponents tomorrow.
ARSENAL 2 – 1 THE STRONGEST
Ultimately, the damage was done before last night and Arsenal will look back on their heavy defeats to Atletico Miniero and the narrow loss in Bolivia, to last night’s opponents, The Strongest. Goals from Martin Rolle and Julio Furch gave Arsenal the victory last night but the telling result was in Brazil, where Sao Paulo defeated group winners, Atletico Miniero to take second place on goal difference. Their 2 – 0 victory have them a goal difference five better than Arsenal. In truth, Miniero dominated this group and it was always going to be tight for the second spot and unfortunately for Arsenal it wasn’t them. Miniero look like one of the teams to beat in this year’s competition.
Here are the goals from Sao Paulo’s victory. Goalkeeper, Rodrigo Ceni scoring from the spot for the 52nd goal of his career.