History was to be made whichever side emerged from the Copa Sudamericana semi-final between Defensa y Justicia and Coquimbo Unido and thanks to Braian Romero’s first half hat-trick it will be the Halcón facing off against Lanús next Saturday in Córdoba.
Defensa y Justicia’s rise continued on Saturday evening as they clinched a place in their first ever continental final and while certainly having an easier path to the final than Lanús few will count out Hernán Crespo’s side.
Coquimbo will have every right to feel aggrieved at their home leg being transferred to Paraguay after positive Covid-19 cases in the Defensa y Justicia squad and yet it was the Chileans that led in Florencio Varela thanks to Rubén Farfán.
A significant away goal after Tuesday’s goalless draw. Though before the visitors could even dream of an upset Defensa y Justicia were level, Francisco Pizzini tapping in Rafael Delgado’s low cross.
The goal sparked the home team to life and the first half blitz that followed simply blew Coquimbo Unido away. Braian Romero, guilty of missing chances in Asunción, rediscovered his scoring touch with three penalty box finishes before the break and the tie was all but over. Nine goals scored in the Copa Sudmericana, 12 in 12 when adding the Copa Libertadores, since joining Defensa y Justicia and the Halcón’s option to purchase from Independiente for $2 million looks better business every day.
Lautaro Palacios slotted in a second for Coquimbo just after the hour mark but the visitors couldn’t find another to set up a tense finish.
There will be an Argentinian champion crowned in Córdoba next week – will it be a second title for Lanús or a first ever for Defensa y Justicia?