It took a huge slice of good fortune with some favourable VAR calls to earn a first leg win over Deportivo Cali and with that safety net secured Vélez Sarsfield let the handbrake off in Colombia to put five past their despondent hosts.
Leading 2-0 from last week’s game in Liniers an away goal was always likely to kill off the tie and when Lucas Janson forced a defensive error to rifle in the opener after 20 minutes Vélez moved significantly closer to the next round.
The impressive Janson doubled the lead and although former Platense playmaker Agustín Palavecino pulled one back with a superb individual goal for the hosts before the break the damage was already done.
Lucas Abram made it three for Vélez after the break and substitute Cristian Tarragona came off the bench to grab a late brace. As Deportivo Cali’s frustration boiled over Andrés Colorado and José Enamorado were sent off and Vélez cruised into the next round. River Plate of Uruguay or Universidad Católica lie ahead for Mauricio Pellegrino’s side.
It was less good news for Unión who came up short in their attempt to overturn a first leg defeat to Brazilian side Bahia.
Back in Santa Fe confidence would still have been high that Unión could indeed find the required victory to progress but the task was made infinitely more difficult when youngster Mauro Luna Diale was sent off before half time.
For as long as Bahia couldn’t find their away goal the tie remained open and Unión pushed forward with ten men in search go a goal. Fernando Márquez thought he found it in stoppage time only for an offside flag to deny the home side their equaliser and with their exit confirmed manager Juan Manuel Azconzábal’s frustration boiled over, a red card for pelting a ball in the direction of the Bahia bench.
The Brazilian side will now face either Defensa y Justicia or Vasco da Gama in the quarter-finals.