Rosario Central already had one foot in the quarter finals after a victory away to Grêmio last week but Eduardo Coudet’s side needed to complete the job on Thursday evening in the Gigante de Arroyito. Thanks to another two goals from Marco Ruben, Central eased to a 3-0 win on their own turf, sealing a comprehensive 4-0 aggregate scoreline and setting up a mouth-watering quarter final clash with Atlético Nacional.
Any nerves from the home side were immediately eased after doubling their advantage with just four minutes on the clock. Walter Montoya clipped a delightful ball in behind the Brazilian defence and the predatory Ruben was perfectly placed to volley the ball past Marcelo Grohe.
The visitors threatened sporadically but could not find a way past Sebastián Sosa and when Franco Cervi was tripped in the penalty area by Marcelo Hermes after 23 minutes, the tie looked over. Ruben emphatically smashed the spotkick into the top corner to take his tournament tally to seven, just one behind leading scorer Jonathan Calleri, and all but confirm El Canalla’s place in the quarter final.
Alejandro Donatti powerfully headed in a third just before the hour mark and with Grêmio knowing they were beaten, Central coasted to full time.
A quarter final tie against tournament favourites Atlético Nacional awaits but Coudet will have seen weakness in their victory over Huracán. Central will push the Colombians all the way and whoever emerges triumphant from that clash will be a real threat to the rest of the competition.