Diego Maradona’s passing saw Boca Juniors’ Copa Libertadores tie postponed but the Copa Sudamericana continued with Independiente and Lanús both in last 16 action. El Rojo have one foot in the quarter-finals after a 4-1 win over Fénix in Montevideo while El Granate have plenty still to do next week following defeat to Bolívar in the altitude of La Paz.
Independiente have struggled for goals of late but needed only a couple of minutes to lead at the Parque Alfredo Victor Viera with youngster Lucas González blasting past Francisco Casanova.
The away goal the first objective for Independiente, referee Juan Gabriel Benítez then took centre stage. First awarding Fénix a cheap penalty emphatically put away by Bryan Olivera and minutes later harshly sending off Roberto Fernández for a challenge on Pablo Hernández.
With the man advantage Independiente took control. The impressive Alan Velasco headed the visitors back in front and then the 18-year-old tricked his way along the byline to set up captain Silvio Romero for number three.
Federico Martínez added a fourth soon after the break and although Independiente couldn’t add any further goals, such a commanding lead should be comfortably defended in Avellaneda next week.
El Rojo’s quarter-final opponents may well be Lanús but Luis Zubeldía’s side will have to overturn a 2-1 deficit to get past Bolívar.
Despite being on the backfoot in La Paz, Tomás Belmonte headed Lanús in front after half an hour only for Marcos Riquelme to find Bolívar a deserved equaliser before the break.
And the pressure from the home team eventually produced a second. Four minutes from time another corner allowed Luis Haquín to head Bolívar in front and it could have been worse for Lanús. Vladimir Castellón appeared to have added a third when Alexis Pérez’s header ricocheted off the substitute and into the net but a VAR review deemed it had struck the upper arm of the Bolívar forward.
Only trailing by one and with an away goal scored Lanús will be confident of completing the job at La Fortaleza.