The mouthwatering prospect of a clásico de Avellaneda in the Copa Sudamericana semi final is gone after Racing Club failed to overturn their first leg defeat to Libertad on a frustrating evening in the Cilindro on Wednesday.
Escaping from Asunción, trailing by only a goal, left Racing an uphill but achievable task form their second leg. Lautaro Martínez was back and La Academia will have felt, despite their recent struggles in front of goal, that they carried sufficient firepower to hurt their Paraguayan visitors.
They certainly had their chances. Racing threw everything they had at Libertad but could not find a way past Rodrigo Muñoz and even when they did either the offside flag or the frame of the goal denied them.
The dangerous Martínez clattered a volley against the woodwork and Lisandro López’s rebound was ruled out for offside before the youngster struck the post once again late on.
Diego Cocca couldn’t question his side’s effort but perhaps his own lack of creativity and willingless to commit will be drawn further into question after a cup run that has ultimately ended in failure. League form has suffered throughout and now the title winning coach must turn things around quickly.
Flamengo booked their place in the other semi final with victory over Fluminense while Libertad await the winners of Independiente and Nacional.