One year ago, Defensa y Justicia sealed a historic victory over São Paulo at the same stage of the Copa Sudamericana, their first in continental competition. Juan Pablo Vojvoda’s side have a great deal to do if they are to repeat the trick this year after slipping to a 1-0 defeat against América de Cali in Florencio Varela.
El Halcón weren’t without chances and will look back on the first leg rueing the missed opportunities that have allowed the Colombians to take an advantage back to Cali.
Nicolás Fernández had a goal correctly chalked off in the first half tapping in from close range but only after Juan Kaprof had missed a glorious first chance and Christian Almeida blazed over with another unmarked effort on goal from inside the penalty area.
This wastefulness was punished soon after when Dylan Gissi got the wrong side of centre forward Cristian Borja and brought the Colombian down for a penalty, allowing him to get up and slot in the opening goal from the spot.
The second half produced further chances but Nicolás Fernández saw an effort blocked, Fernando Márquez fired wide and Alexander Barboza headed against the crossbar as Defensa y Justicia failed to get back on level terms.
The sides meet again in March in Cali with El Halcón needing victory to take a place in the next round.