When Billy Arce slotted Independiente Del Valle 2-1 ahead in the 64th minute and it was the home side pushing for another, Banfield’s Copa Libertadores hopes appeared to be over. The clock creeped into stoppage time with the Ecuadorians having missed several chances to kill the tie when a Banfield corner reached Mauricio Sperduti unmarked and the 31-year-old’s shot found the net through a crowded penalty area. The goal had levelled the tie but would crucially be sending Banfield through on away goals against the odds.
It was Maximiliano Barreiro’s injury time penalty that gave Independiente del Valle an away goal, one week ago in Banfield, and had given the Ecuadorians the advantage back in Quito but that was cancelled out in spectacular fashion after 23 minutes in the Estadio Olímpico Atahualpa.
A free kick in a position almost too far out to be considered a real threat was struck by Jesús Dátalo with such venom that goalkeeper Hamilton Piedra could do nothing as it arrowed straight into the top corner from 35 yards.
Banfield were ahead on aggregate but it lasted only five minutes when Barreiro was again on hand to turn in after a fine passing move cut open Julio César Falcioni’s defence.
As the game progressed Independiente del Valle began to assert control and they took the lead just after the hour mark when Billy Arce got in behind Jorge Rodríguez and slotted past Iván Arboleda.
Michael Estrada spurned clear chances when one-on-one with Arboleda to clinch the tie but failed to do so and despite only minutes remaining, Banfield knew a goal would be enough. Throwing everything forward, Sperduti forced the all important equaliser and with little time to react, El Taladro had done it on away goals.
Falcioni’s side are not quite there yet and the third and final qualifying round lies ahead but victory over either Nacional or Chapecoense would seal a place in the Copa Libertadores group stage.