Copa Sudamericana: Independiente do enough for place in last 16 & Colón join them with win over River Plate (VIDEO)

It wasn’t pretty at times and Ariel Holan was still forced to answer questions on his future but Independiente overturned a first leg defeat in Colombia to see off Rionegro Águilas and secure a place in the Copa Sudamericana last 16.

Now heading into the break there is much to ponder for Independiente and while it wasn’t the most impressive display of the Holan era, El Rojo were dominant against inferior opposition and eventually found the goals needed to progress.

A lacklustre first half allowed Rionegro to effectively pack the defence and limit Independiente to few chances. A situation that only added to the frustration and tension as the Colombians would be heading through with a draw following last week’s 3-2 win.

However, it took only a couple of minutes after the restart for Independiente to make the breakthrough. Pablo Pérez seeking out Silvio Romero with a long ball over the top and with the help of some poor defending by Rionegro captain Carlos Ramírez, Silvio Romero clipping the ball over Luis Delgado into the net.

Romero, one of the Independiente players, with an uncertain future after failing to impress since his arrival but playing a vital role in this tie. The 30-year-old’s goal off the bench last week reducing the deficit and his opener in Avellaneda forcing Rionegro to come out of their shells with El Rojo heading through on away goals.

That extra space saw Independiente double their lead. Martín Campaña punched a cross clear and on the counter the ball was worked into Pablo Pérez who dug out a cross to the back post to allow a leaping Cecilio Domínguez to head in a second.

With Rionegro needing two unanswered goals the game petered out as Independiente cruised through to the final whistle. Universidad Católica of Ecuador are up next after thrashing Melgar but vast improvements will be needed if El Rojo have any aspirations of following in the footsteps of the 2017 side.

El Rojo weren’t the only Argentine club to book their place as Colón overcame Uruguay’s River Plate with a 3-1 win in Santa Fe.

After last week’s goalless draw the tie was in the balance and when Mauro Da Luz dashed in behind to give River the lead after only quarter of an hour it left Colón needing a win.

The reply however was instant, Cristian Bernardi equalising from close range and soon after Wilson Morelo heading the home side in front.

River were unable to find a way back and five minutes from time, Nicolás Leguizamón wrapped up the win with a shot from the edge of the penalty area.

Colón will face either Argentinos Juniors or Deportes Tolima in the last 16.


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