Last night Tigre were celebrating reaching the last 16 of the Copa Libertadores for the first time in their history. Before last night’s game Tigre knew that they had to go to Paraguay and defeat Libertad, no easy task given their home record and the fact that Libertad had beaten Tigre 2 – 0 in Victoria in the opening game of this group. However, an early wonder strike from Ruben Botta set them on their way and was the catalyst for an enthralling 5 – 3 win. Undoubtedly helped by the first half sending off of Libertad defender, Ismael Banegas, Tigre were still made to sweat by their adventurous opponents and even with 10 men they continued to cause problems but Tigre prevailed to join Palmeiras in the knockout stages. REPORT AND GOALS HERE (Botta’s is well worth a view)…..
LIBERTAD 3 – 5 TIGRE
A great game and a wonderful night for Tigre, as four of Argentina’s five representatives qualify for the next stage. Libertad were favourites to get through from this tie given that they had home advantage and they continually looked dangerous in last night’s game. However, the deadlock was spectacularly broken after 11 minutes when Ruben Botta turned him marker 25 yards out and then unleashed an unstoppable left foot strike into the top corner. Botta will be a miss to both Tigre and the Primera when he leaves this summer. The lead lasted only minutes, Miguel Samudio neatly converting the equaliser but Tigre continued to press on the counter and went back in front due to a deflected strike from Matias Perez Garcia. 5 minutes later came perhaps the real turning point, inexplicably Libertad defender, Ismael Banegas lashed out off the ball in the penalty box. He was shown a red card and a penalty was given, which Gaston Diaz converted.
However, Tigre could not relax as even with 10 men Libertad attacked and only 2 minutes later got a goal back, Jose Nuñez hitting a swatly struck half volley into the top corner. A breathless first half was brought to an end, not before Libertad had two goals ruled out for offside.
In the second half the numerical advantage told a little more and Tigre were able to get some breathing space. First, Perez Garcia got his second after following up a saved Botta effort and then Perez Garcia turned provider as his cross field ball was turned home by Botta. Libertad managed a third goal in stoppage time but Tigre knew that they had qualified.