Martín Benítez’s inexplicable error that handed Independiente del Valle an away goal in Avellaneda last week always had the potential to come back and haunt Independiente and in Quito it did just that as Dani Nieto snatched a 77th minute winner for the Ecuadorians sealing passage to the Copa Sudamericana semi-finals on away goals.
Built to play on the counter with a packed defence and pace in attack, Independiente started brightly but just as in the first leg, El Rojo were unable to make it count.
Gradually grinding to a virtual halt in the energy-sapping altitude, Independiente del Valle took control and were it not for a tremendous Martín Campaña save, the tie could have been level before the break.
The visitors were in dire need of the break but even after a breather and some instructions from Sebastián Beccacece there was no change in momentum.
Independiente del Valle continued to come forward and Campaña again kept his side in front until the 13 minutes from time.
Jhon Sánchez, goalscorer in Avellaneda, fried Nicolás Figal for pace down the left, as he did once during the first half. On that occasion Gastón Silva poked the ball to safety but this time, Spanish substitute Dani Nieto swept in the vital opening goal.
Independiente threw Andrés Roa and top scorer Silvio Romero on to try and snatch an equaliser but it never looked like coming and when Figal was shown a second yellow card in stoppage time, El Rojo’s game was up.
Elimination comes as an early blow to Beccacece’s tenure as the Sudamericana had been earmarked as Independiente’s priority. Errors cost El Rojo in Avellaneda and the Copa Argentina now leaves only one available route to the 2020 Libertadores. That tournament and a challenge in the Superliga now a must for Independiente’s new manager.
— CONMEBOL Sudamericana (@Sudamericana) August 14, 2019