Boca Juniors’ goalless draw away to Alianza Lima was hardly the start to this year’s Copa Libertadores that Guillermo Barros Schelotto would have wanted but after virtually sealing the Superliga title at the weekend, Los Xeneizes chalked up an opening victory in this year’s tournament with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Junior.
With Palmeiras making it two wins from two in Group H on Tuesday, Boca needed victory and thanks to Cristian Pavón’s fine first half strike, they managed that.
But it was perhaps a little more nervy than expected after Ramón Ábila blazed over a 66th minute penalty.
Boca’s superiority didn’t convert into many clear chances with Junior restricting their hosts to long range efforts. Pavón’s precise shot, cutting in from the left, the only one that hit the target leaving goalkeeper Sebastián Viera little chance.
Ábila handed a chance to impress ahead of Walter Bou had a couple of snatched efforts in front of goal and won the second half penalty but smashed it high into the stands.
Former River Plate striker Teo Gutiérrez, in his role as pantomime villain back at La Bombonera, saw one effort flash across the Boca goal but Junior didn’t quite do enough to leave with a point.
Boca travel to Palmeiras next week with top spot up for grabs.
Boca Juniors 1 – 0 Junior
Earlier in Montevideo, Atlético Tucumán’s task of escaping from Group C became much harder after slumping to a 3-1 defeat against Peñarol.
The impressive Cristian Cebolla Rodríguez smashed in a tenth minute penalty to give the Uruguayans the advantage and shortly after half time, Fabián Estoyanoff’s long range free-kick, which was actually heading off target, deflected off Guillermo Acosta and past the helpless Augusto Batalla.
Atlético icon Luis Rodríguez swiftly pulled a goal back from the penalty spot but Peñarol ensured victory eight minutes from time. Cebolla split the static Atlético defence and it allowed Cristian Palacios to square for Rodrigo Rojo to tap in.
With two defeats from two, qualification is already looking tough for El Decano, the difficult trip away to The Strongest in two weeks already looking like a must-win.
Peñarol 3 – 1 Atlético Tucumán