Copa Libertadores Report: Jan 31
Paraguay's Libertad and Arsenal de Sarandi of Argentina cruise into the group stage of the 2012 Copa Libertadores after winning their respective preliminary play-offs.
A clearly superior Libertad hit four past El Nacional
Libertad of Paraguay and Arsenal de Sarandi of Argentina progressed to the group stage of the 2012 Copa Libertadores, after defeating El Nacional of Ecuador and Sport Huancayo of Peru, respectively, on Tuesday.
Having lost 1-0 to El Nacional in Quito last week, Jorge Burruchaga's Libertad completely turned around the tie by thrashing The Ecuadorians 4-1 in a extremely one-sided affair in Asuncion, to qualify for the second round of the competition for the tenth successive year and their 13th time in total.
Meanwhile, Gustavo Alfaro's Arsenal advanced to the group stage of the competition for only the second time in their history despite a 1-1 draw with hosts Sport Huancayo. The Argentines struggled to adapt themselves to the 3,200-metre altitude, but nevertheless made their 3-0 win from the first leg count.
Dec 31, 1969
Estadio Huancayo (Huancayo), Dec 31, 1969
Arsenal de Sarandi gained entry into the group stage of the continental competition, after forcing a 1-1 draw with Sport Huancayo. The Argentine club had thrashed the Peruvians 3-0 in the first leg of the tie in Avellaneda last week.
Despite being outplayed for large periods in the 3,200-metre altitude, veteran striker Sergio Ibarra sent Sport Huancayo into the break with a slender lead after scoring on the stroke of half-time.
Motivated by the goal, the Peruvians pushed to the attack at every opportunity in the second half, but although they created numerous goal-scoring chances, they were continually kept out by Arsenal goalkeeper Cristian Campestrini, who made a number of good saves.
Ibarra was clearly the most dangerous of the Huancayo attackers, and he almost doubled his team's lead in the 81st minute, when his fine header hit the crossbar.
However, two minutes later substitute Luciano Leguizamon silenced the home crowd with Arsenal's late equaliser to send the Argentines into the following stage of the competition.
Arsenal will take place in Group 4 of the Copa Libertadores, along with fellow Argentines Boca Juniors, Fluminense of Brazil and Zamora of Venezuela.