Roberto Sensini’s Estudiantes may have recorded their first league loss of the season at the weekend against San Lorenzo, but on Wednesday night they finally got their Copa Libertadores Group 2 effort up and running, coming from behind in the second half to win 2-1 against Danubio in Montevideo thanks to a Juan Sebastián Verón penalty and a late winner from Enzo Pérez.
Midway through the first half, it was all looking very different for Sensini’s men. They’d been a goal down already for 17 minutes when Agustín Alayes went in hard to a tackle, took both ball and opponent, and was rewarded with his second booking of the night. Suddenly, Pedro Irala’s early headed goal for the Uruguayans had gone from looking difficult to overturn (Estudiantes were hardly playing well even with eleven men) to all but insurmountable.
At half time, though, Sensini made a couple of changes, withdrawing Pablo Piatti and Iván Moreno y Fabianesi and putting on Cristian Bogado and José Basanta. The adjustments worked, with Estudiantes improving and, in the fifteenth minute, their luck was in as the Chilean referee awarded the visitors a penalty for a pretty ordinary bit of pushing and tugging between goalscorer Irala and Leandro Desábato. Seba Verón promptly dispatched it into the net, and Estudiantes had the equaliser they just about deserved.
Following the equaliser, Danubio went in search of a second for themselves, and Cristian Bardaro came close, but Estudiantes were now looking more assured at the back and settled in to play on the counter. And with four minutes remaining, their patience got its reward, with Verón playing substitute Enzo Pérez through. Pérez left a defender in his wake before slamming the ball high into the net to send the 5,000 Estudiantes fans who’d made the short hop across the Río de la Plata mad. Estudiantes now join Lanús and Cuenca on four points, and can dream once more of qualification.