Vélez Sarsfield’s struggles in front of goal have been evident in the league this season and it’s cost Gabriel Heinze’s side a title challenge. Toiling to find a way past Aucas in the first round of the Copa Sudamericana, another evening of frustration was on the horizon until Ricardo Centurión announced himself to the Estadio José Amalfitani with a sublime solo goal.
Talented but troubled, Centurión has certainly not made the most of his tremendous ability but served a reminder fifteen minutes from time dancing through the heart of the Aucas defence to score an early contender for goal of the tournament.
The stepovers, the pace and the trickery were all still evident and delighted the locals in Liniers but until that moment had failed to give Vélez an important lead in the tie.
Heinze’s side were superior but couldn’t find a way through, like so often in the Superliga, with Thiago Almada and Maximiliano Romero failing to apply the finishing touches.
Aucas’ defensive operation became more complicated shortly after half time when Bryan Sánchez received a second yellow card for a high boot to the side of Braian Cufre’s head and Centurión sensed blood.
It wasn’t overly convincing from Vélez and the issue of lacking a regular goalscorer remains but Centurión’s brilliance was worthy of winning any game. There is still work to do in two weeks in Quito and anything less than a spot in round two would be a disaster for Vélez.
— CONMEBOL Sudamericana (@Sudamericana) February 5, 2020