All three Argentine clubs progressed in the Copa Sudamericana on Wednesday but the expectation on Thursday was that Unión would be the first to fall having lost 1-0 to Emelec in Santa Fe one week ago. Yet despite the daunting trip to Guayaquil, the Tatengue turned the tie around with a 2-1 win to seal a place in the last 16 on away goals.
A deflected Javier Cabrera strike after 20 minutes cancelled out the defeat of seven days earlier and it was no less than Unión deserved. The visitors caused the Emelec defence plenty of problems and only the post and a goal-line clearance denied Unión further extending their lead.
Former Patronato striker Facundo Barceló equalised on the hour mark to swing the tie back in favour of Emelec but a handball against Wilmer Godoy allowed substitute Fernando Márquez to roll in a decisive penalty fifteen minutes from time.
Juan Manuel Azconzábal’s side held on for victory and will play Brazilian side Bahia in the next round.
Independiente will join them after a 1-1 draw in Tucumán was enough to hold advantage and set up a last 16 tie with Fénix of Uruguay.
A failure to create any real chances was noticeable in the two 1-0 wins recorded by Lucas Pusineri’s side since the restart yet that wasn’t the case on Thursday evening and only a terrific performance from veteran goalkeeper Cristian Lucchetti denied Independiente a more comfortable evening.
There was nothing the Atlético captain could do to prevent Silvio Romero nodding in the opening goal but two one-on-one stops kept the scoreline at one and when Leonardo Heredia headed an equaliser on the night the home side’s belief grew.
With two goals needed to progress Ricardo Zielinski threw on forwards and Independiente held firm and should have put the tie beyond doubt on the counter during the second half. A stonewall penalty was waved away and Federico Martínez hit the post as El Rojo kept their hosts at an arms length.
Emelec 1 – 2 Unión (AGG 2-2)
Unión advance on away goals
Atlético Tucumán 1 – 1 Independiente (AGG 1-2)