It could have been a tricky tie for Estudiantes, facing Paraguayans Libertad. The visitors are adept at getting on the nerves of sides from bigger countries, and a visit to Asunción in the second leg won’t have been what Alejandro Sabella and his boys were dreaming of. It took just 28 seconds for Gastón ‘La Gata‘ Fernández to blow any nerves away though, and Mauro Boselli scored twice thereafter to give El Pincha a dream start to life in the knockout stages.
A nice layoff round his marker from Seba Verón got things started – Fernández chased it, smashed it into the top corner and Estudiantes were off and running before Libertad had even realised the game had begun. Thereafter Verón ran the show as Libertad struggled to get back on level terms. Fernández limped off injured, but in the 63rd minute Marcos Angeleri, who had an excellent game otherwise, theatrically bought a penalty which Boselli converted to double the lead, and just six minutes later Verón played the ball across the goal and Boselli nodded in at the first post.
Late on, Estudiantes should have had another penalty, as Boselli chased a long ball. His marker, making no attempt to play the ball, reached out and pushed the striker over just as the former Boca man was about to swing a foot at the dropping ball, but the referee waved play on. Boselli barely protested. Didier Drogba take note.
Copa Libertadores last sixteen first leg, 7th May 2009: Estudiantes de La Plata 3 – 0 Libertad (PAR)