Estudiantes controlled the first half despite playing away at altitude in Ecuador, but came unstuck in the second. Goals from Joffre Guerrón and Damián Manso combined with a late red card for Estuidiantes’ Juan Manuel Díaz to make the task back in La Plata for next week’s second leg an uphill one.
Roberto Sensini’s men sought to control the first half whilst saving their legs in the rarefied air, stringing two lines of four close together just in front of their box, and content to squeeze the space tight for Quito’s forwards, whilst making chances for themselves on the counter-attack. At the front, Leandro Lázzaro ensured Quito’s defence couldn’t rest easy, whilst in defence Leandro Desábato led as well as ever. Half-time arrived with an offside header from Enrique Vera and a free kick the only opportunities Quito had been able to muster.
From the restart, Quito came out with more pace and directness, and the pressure began to tell as Estudiantes’ legs tired. Guerrón opened the scoring just after the hour mark with a tremendous goal, and Mansó, fifteen minutes on, doubled the advantage after pouncing on a slip from Juan Sebastián Verón. In between, Lázzaro missed a golden opportunity to level, and El Pincha travel back to La Plata without a potentially crucial away goal. When Díaz picked up a second yellow card of the night late on, it just seemed to sum up Estudiantes’ second half. The job in La Plata won’t be impossible, but it’ll be very tricky.
Check back later for the goals.