Copa Sudamericana: Independiente suffer defeat in Rionegro while Colón earn useful draw (VIDEO)

Ariel Holan stressed beforehand that the Copa Sudamericana was Independiente’s number one priority but his side’s performance didn’t befit those words as El Rojo slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Rionegro Aguilas in Colombia.

After a disappointing league campaign came to an end and Copa Superliga hopes were dashed at the first hurdle by Argentinos Juniors, Holan and Independiente were hoping for a boost in the Copa Sudamericana. El Rojo aren’t out yet and have an opportunity to put things right in Avellaneda next week but produced a woeful performance that deservedly ended in defeat.

Cecilio Domínguez gave Independiente the lead after 20 minutes, latching on to Martín Benítez’s incisive pass to clip the ball past Luis Delgado but barely before the celebrations had ended the home side were level. Mauricio Gómez strode forward from midfield and eased past the laziest of challenges from Francisco Silva to rifle a low shot past Martín Campaña and yet there was no real reaction from Independiente.

Rionegro were perhaps fortunate not to be reduced to ten men soon after when David Contreras kicked out at Pablo Pérez under the nose of referee Eber Aquino but the midfielder only saw yellow and the home side used that luck to take control.

Straight after the restart, Gastón Silva’s weak clearance allowed substitute Kevin Salazar to give Rionegro the lead and when Silva was again absent at the back post, Jáder Obrian headed the Colombian’s further infront.

Trailing by two there was a greater urgency in Independiente’s play and Silvio Romero came off the bench to pull one back from close range but even after the home side saw Francisco Rodríguez sent off for a second booking, El Rojo were unable to fashion any clear chances.

A last 16 tie against Universidad de Católica almost certainly follows for the winners after the Ecuadorians thrashed Melgar 6-0 in their first leg and Independiente have work to do to ensure that it is them.

Earlier, Colón were in Montevideo and left with a valuable goalless draw against River Plate that perhaps only lacked an away goal ahead of next week’s second leg.

Pablo Lavellén’s side did create chances and actually hit the woodwork early on when Gonzalo Escobar’s cross almost caught out Gastón Olveira in the River Plate goal.

Set-pieces were the main source of chances for both sides and late on it was the home side that threatened. Colón keeper Leonardo Burián produced a string of saves to keep River Plate out and preserve the clean sheet that leaves the tie finely balanced.

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