Supporters in Florencio Varela aren’t accustomed to seeing their team lose but after watching Defensa y Justicia’s string of last-minute wins to maintain their unlikely title challenge, their luck finally ran out on Wednesday evening. Botafogo defended with their lives, Defensa y Justicia failed to take the chances that came their way and the Brazilians snatched a 3-0 win to wrap up a far more emphatic 4-0 aggregate win than the balance of play actually reflected.
Trailing 1-0 from the first leg after Erik’s stunning injury time strike, Defensa y Justicia had it all to do back at the Estadio Tito Tormeghello and came quickly out of the blocks. However, for all their possession El Halcón failed to work Gatito Fernández in the Botafogo goal and Alexis Castro was guilty of a glaring miss from only a few yards out.
While not Defensa y Justicia’s strongest eleven, with Sebastián Beccacece clearly trying to rest players ahead of the Superliga title run in, the home side were still dominant as Botafogo were content to pack players behind the ball and bide their time.
Pushing further forward in search of an equaliser, disaster struck shortly after the break when a long ball in behind Nicolás Tripichio found the pace of Erik and the first leg hero slotted past Ezequiel Unsain.
Now in need of three after that Botafogo away goal, Defensa y Justicia were momentarily boosted by full-back Marcinho seeing red for a clash with Castro but another swift counter resulted in Leonel Miranda bringing down Rodrigo Pimpão and Erik hammered in his second of the night.
With the tie over, Botafogo wrapped it up in spectacular fashion as Alex Santana caught Unsain slightly off his line and found the top corner from more than 40 yards out.
Disappointment for Defensa y Justicia but with six matches remaining in the Superliga, Sebastián Beccacece’s side still stand on the brink of history.
Defensa y Justicia 0 – 3 Botafogo (AGG 0-4)
— CONMEBOL Sudamericana (@Sudamericana) February 21, 2019
A little earlier in Córdoba, Talleres were one step away from booking their place in the Copa Libertadores group stage and after dispatching of São Paulo in the previous round, confidence was high at the Estadio Mario Kempes against Palestino.
A confidence that hardly looked misplaced when Dayro Moreno clipped Talleres in front after only two minutes and during this dominant opening period, things got even better, Juan Ramírez slotting in from the penalty spot.
Juan Pablo Vojvoda’s side looked as though they could get the job done in the first leg but a poorly defended long throw saw César Córtes volley a goal back just before half time.
It proved a turning point as Palestino were given a lease of life and equalised after 67 minutes thanks to a fine burst down the right by Guillermo Soto.
With neither side managing to find a winner, Palestino take a slender advantage back to Chile with those two away goals.
— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@Libertadores) February 21, 2019