The Estudiantes victory referred to in the title actually took place on Tuesday night, but was too late for me to have stayed up for it. The Copa Libertadores holders beat Juan Aurich of Peru for the second time in the group stage, this time away by a score of 2-0, with a spectacular second goal from Rodrigo Braña, of all people. On Wednesday night, Vélez Sársfield were well beaten though, with Thiago Ribeiro inspiring Cruzeiro (he scored the first and set the other two up for Kléber) to a 3-0 win. You can watch the Estudiantes goals right here, and read about the qualification situations of both the Argentine sides. Infuriatingly, the goals from the Vélez match still aren’t online nearly two hours after the match finished, so for now I can only provide a link – I’ll stick them up on HEGS on Thursday evening instead, along with the goals of the upcoming (as I type) match between Monarcas Morelia and Banfield.
Copa Libertadores 2010
30th March, Group 3: Juan Aurich (PER) 0 – 2 Estudiantes de La Plata
This win leaves Estudiantes top of the group, one point ahead of Alianza Lima, who they play at home in their final group game. The format of this year’s competition – the two ‘worst’ second-placed teams will be eliminated to allow Chivas and San Luis of Mexico in at the second round stage, after 2009’s swine flu regulations resulted in those two teams withdrawing at that stage amid much recrimination – means they’re not safe yet. Estudiantes can’t finish lower than second (Alianza have a game in hand, at home to Bolívar next Thursday) but need to win the group to make sure of qualification. At present Alianza are one point behind Estudiantes, with an identical goal difference and having thrashed the holders when the two met in Lima, so if they win against Bolívar Estudiantes will be required to win in Quilmes to progress.
Cruzeiro vs Vélez goals will be embedded on Thursday evening. If you can’t wait that long, you can watch them here on the Olé site – click the ‘Video’ tab above the photo, and cycle through the videos (using the arrows next to ‘1 de 3’ to the bottom right of the video screen).
As for Vélez, their passage to the next round was complicated by Cruzeiro’s easy win, gaining revenge for the 2-0 defeat they were handed when they visited Liniers earlier in the group stage. Both of those sides are now on ten points after five games, whilst behind them lie Colo Colo of Chile on four points from four games. A win for Colo Colo away to Venezuela’s Deportivo Italia next week will put them three points behind, with a home match against Cruzeiro to come. If Vélez can beat Italia by any score in their last match (they’re at home) it should be enough, but it won’t be certain until the very end…
You can follow the Clausura and the Argentine sides in the 2010 Copa Libertadores via HEGS on Twitter (including updates during and between matches and similar stories that might not go up on the site until later). I’m slowly gaining followers, but if you’ve not signed up yet you can do so here.