San Lorenzo’s excellent start to the Copa Libertadores has at times been at odds with their laboured domestic campaign. On Thursday evening El Ciclón produced one of the languid displays that has so far typified Jorge Almirón’s reign but even in defeat San Lorenzo secured a place in the last 16 with a game to spare.
Winning every game since the goalless draw away to Melgar on the opening day, San Lorenzo topped Group F ahead of the trip to Barranquilla to face a Junior side, not only without a point but without even a goal in this year’s tournament.
And yet form counted for very little as the Colombian side secured victory and breathed life into their hopes of still making the Copa Sudamericana. Michael Rangel’s superb looping header after only 12 minutes broke the deadlock and proved enough to see off San Lorenzo.
Unable to create many clear opportunities San Lorenzo were restricted to a number of hopeful strikes from outside the box with Andrés Rentería wasting the only really clear chance.
A narrow offside ruled out a second for Junior after Teófilo Gutiérrez slotted in and Fernando Monetti was required to make a good stop one-on-one during the second half but San Lorenzo never truly looked like finding an equaliser.
Rentería’s thoroughly disappointing evening ended with a red card in stoppage time but despite the set-back in Barranquilla, Los Cuervos progressed. Palmeiras swept aside Melgar a little later and with it leapfrogged San Lorenzo in the table while ensuring both move on to the knockout stages.
San Lorenzo travel to São Paulo in two weeks with top spot to play for but after their recent struggles at this stage of the Copa Libertadores, securing their progression by whichever means was always the target.
Junior 1 – 0 San Lorenzo
— CONMEBOL Libertadores (@Libertadores) April 26, 2019