Independiente midfielder Nicolás Domingo warned of the difficulties that face his side next week in the altitude of Quito after El Rojo managed only a 1-0 win over Universidad Católica in a rain-soaked Estadio Libertadores de América.
It was Sebastián Beccacece’s first game in charge of Independiente and while the club remain in the transfer market and hope to conclude a deal for Cruzeiro’s Lucas Romero, the remainder of their new recruits were either ineligible or in the case of Cristian Chávez on the bench.
For all intents and purposes it was still Ariel Holan’s side and for the opening 45 minutes, Independiente struggled to get to grips with the change in the dugout admittedly hindered by the appalling conditions caused by hours of heavy rain in Argentina.
While restricting Universidad Católica to few shots and none that troubled Martín Campaña, the closest the game got to an opener was Cecilio Domínguez clipping the crossbar and having his follow-up effort scrambled away off the line by goalkeeper Hernán Galindez.
Improved after the break, El Rojo did eventually find the breakthrough. Juan Sánchez Miño burst forward from deep, fed Domínguez down the left and the Paraguayan skipped round Galindez, floated the ball to the back post where Pablo Hernández arrived to head in.
Despite their efforts Independiente were unable to extend their lead and now face a testing second leg in Quito. Independiente del Valle lie ahead for the winners in the quarter-finals.
👀⚽ ¡El golazo de @Independiente!
💥Gran jugada y pase de Sánchez Miño 🎯, enganche y asistencia de Cecilio Domínguez para la definición 💣 de Pablo Hernández.
📅Así le ganó a @UCatolicaEC en la ida de octavos de la #Sudamericana pic.twitter.com/BR7qk5hmTS
— CONMEBOL Sudamericana (@Sudamericana) July 26, 2019