River Plate safely avoided a Copa Argentina upset to book the first spot in this year’s semi-final but the same couldn’t be said of Copa Sudamericana finalists Colón, who on Wednesday evening were dumped out by Primera Nacional side Estudiantes de Buenos Aires on penalties.
The signs that a shock was on the cards were evident early on when Colón defended a free-kick into the box poorly and left Ángel García to bend the ball into the top corner with less than four minutes on the clock.
It didn’t last long and Fernando Zuqui tapped Colón level before Estudiantes could really come to terms with their early lead.
The game remained fairly even but when Zuqui added his second before half time it looked as though Colón would be heading into the latter stages of another cup competition.
That was the case until nine minutes from time when a corner from left travelled all the way through to the back post where unmarked defender Paolo Impini was able to bundle the ball past a rightly furious Leonardo Burián.
The hero from the penalty spot in the Copa Sudamericana Burián could do little in Paraná and although Impini hit the crossbar for Estudiantes to see that the shootout went into sudden death, victory was sealed when two-goal Zuqui blazed over the top.
Colón 2 – 2 Estudiantes de Buenos Aires
6-7 on penalties
As the lesser known Estudiantes take their place in the last four against River Plate, Estudiantes de La Plata suffered defeat to Central Córdoba, a result that leaves manager Gabriel Milito’s future in doubt once more.
Estudiantes goalkeeper Mariano Andújar insists the blame lies with the players and not Milito but one win in six in the league and now a cup exit, it is always the coach that takes the fall.
Milito may well look back on missed chances in Córdoba as Federico González spurned chances, failing to carry his form from the tail-end of last season at Tigre to Estudiantes, and youngster Mateo Retegui scuffed a sitter late on to at least snatch a draw.
That’s not to say that Estudiantes were by far the better side, Central Córdoba were themselves guilty of missing chances. Lisandro Alzugaray failed to hit the target when one-on-one with Andújar early on and Jonathan Herrera managed to trip over the ball when presented with an open net from yards out but the Ferroviario were not made to pay as Gervasio Núñez struck the game’s only goal in the 73rd minute.
Either Lanús or Independiente await in the semi-final but with River Plate favourites on the other side of the draw there is the possibility that just reaching the final could offer a 2020 Copa Libertadores spot.
Central Córdoba 1 – 0 Estudiantes