In spite of the dreadful showing by Argentine clubs in this year’s Copa Libertadores, one of them will be in the semi-finals, after Estudiantes beat Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting on a better-than-expected pitch in La Plata 1-0, to complete a 2-0 aggregate win in the quarter-final tie. Waiting for them in the next round are Defensor’s domestic rivals Nacional, three-times Copa winners and the first Uruguayan side to reach the semis in two decades.
Thanks to the comfortable 1-0 win a few weeks ago in Montevideo, Estudiantes only needed a draw to see them through, and although Defensor had upset the apple cart in spectacular fashion in the previous round, putting Boca Juniors out by becoming the first Uruguayan side to win in La Bombonera, a repeat never looked on the cards this time round.
Estudiantes got out of the blocks early, protecting their advantage by attacking from the start, and got their reward in the thirteenth minute, Leandro Benítez solidly side-footing home after the ball had ricocheted off a few players in front of him in the box. With a 2-0 aggregate advantage, Estudiantes could afford to relax a bit already, although the selección‘s new goalkeeper Mariano Andújar relaxed rather too much in coming for one cross, and was fortunate to see the ball subsequently turned over his crossbar by Christian Cellay, who covered him superbly. Two minutes later, Juan Manuel Salgueiro hit the post, and at half time Defensor were on the ropes.
In the second half the Uruguayans didn’t offer much else, with Argentine Julio Marchant – man of the match in the second leg against Boca in the previous round – unable to exert himself and substitute striker Diego De Souza doing nothing to turn the game Defensor’s way, even with Estudiantes happy to sit back and preserve their energies whilst soaking up the pressure. On the counter they had one or two chances – wasted incredibly by Benítez and a little selfishly by sub Gastón Fernández – but the result was never really in doubt. Next up are Nacional, who last night saw of Palmeiras of Brazil on away goals after a 0-0 draw in the Centenario. Estudiantes’ Copa dream continues, thirty-nine years after their last win.
Copa Libertadores quarter-final second leg, Thurs 18th June 2009: Estudiantes de La Plata 1 – 0 Defensor Sporting (URU) (Estudiantes win 2-0 on aggregate)
What was heard about the playing surface in La Plata?
Vamos Argentina. Vamos Estudiantes en CSL.
What you heard about the pitch at La Plata was a load of complete muck!
The media trying to report “relevant” stuff in their 24-hour “news” channels.
That’s what it was.
What is it with Argentina and the playing surfaces lately?
By the way…VAMOS NACIONAL! ;)