• Friday, 24 April 2009

    Copa Libertadores Group Stage So Far

    Copa Libertadores Group Stages so far

    In Group 1, holders LDU Quito have been eliminated from the competition with 1 week left of the group stages after a 2-0 defeat to Palmeiras at the Palestra Itália on Tuesday night. That with Sport Recife's come from behind win against Colo Colo on Wednesday mean it's impossible for the holders to progress. That win has ensured that Sport progress to the knockout stages and they travel to Quito next week to finish the group stage. With both teams on 7 points the second qualifier will be decided in Santiago where Colo Colo entertain Palmeiras. The hosts have a superior goal difference which means the Brazilians must win if they are to progress.

    In Group 2 it's still all to play for after Boca Juniors suffered their first defeat of the competition to Deportivo Cuenca in Ecuador on Thursday night. Édison Preciado with the only goal after 78 minutes. It's the first points that the Argentinian club have dropped in the competition so far after progressing through their opening 4 games with ease. Going into the last week of games it's going to be between Boca, Cuenca and Deportivo Táchira of Venezuela for the two spots in the knockout stages. Boca need only a point to finish as group winners and they face Deportivo Táchira at La Bombonera whilst Deportivo Cuenca travel to Paraguay to meet Guaraní, who have already been eliminated from the competition after losing all their games so far.

    The qualifying positions in Group 3 have been decided after River Plate fell to a 4-2 defeat to Club Nacional of Paraguay in Asunción on Thursday night. River took the lead through Ramadel Falcao after 44 minutes but undid it all 60 seconds later when Fabio Escobar converted from the spot. Jorge Núñez and Carlos Peralta extended the lead before Escobar grabbed a second. Marcello Gallardo's consolation strike in the 82nd minute too little to late for River as they crashed out. That result enabled Universidad San Martín of Peru to qualify alongside Nacional of Uruguay after the 2 clubs drew 1-1 in Lima on Tuesday night. The Uruguayans, currently with a 3 point lead and far superior goal difference, should progress as group winners with their final fixture against Club Nacional in the Estadio Centenario next Thursday night.

    Brazilian Champions São Paulo had defenitely qualified from Group 4 before Matchday 6 began but they could still be caught by Independiente Medellín for the top position. The one certainty in Group 4 is the elimination of Colombia's América de Cali before the week started and they were defeated 2-1 by São Paulo in their final game. Uruguay's Defensor Sporting and Independiente Medellín met in Montevideo on Wednesday night with 2 points seperating the sides and it took a goal in the 4th minute of injury time from Pablo Gaglianone to break the hearts of Independiente Medellín. This coming after Diego Cabrera has scored to level the game right on the 90 minute mark. Defensor Sporting winning 4-3 to join São Paulo in the knockout stages.

    Group 5 was also completed this week and it was tight at the top with 2 points seperating three clubs going into the final round. Universitario de Sucre of Bolivia have been eliminated after picking up only 1 point from their 5 games so far. They face second placed Estudiantes of Argentina at home in the last round of fixtures whilst group leaders Cruzeiro and Deportivo Quito of Ecuador meet at the Mineirão. A win or draw would see Cruzeiro advance whilst a draw would see Deportivo Quito then left to await the outcome in Sucre. A win for Estudiantes in Bolivia and it left Quito the task of winning in Brazil to advance. Quito though, weren't up to the task at the Mineirão and two first half goal saw Cruzeiro advance in first place whilst Estudiantes goal less draw in Quito was academic given the events in Belo Horizonte and saw them qualify as runners up.

    In group 6, Caracas of Venezuela are the only team defenitely through to the next round whilst Lanús of Argentina have been eliminated. The crucial game next week is in Viña del Mar in Chile where Everton meet invitee side Guadalajara of Mexico. The hosts must win in order to progress to the knockout phase whilst Guadalajara must avoid defeat as they currently hold a 1 point advantage in the table.

    In Group 7 Brazilian side Grêmio are into the last 16 after only dropping 2 points out of 15 so far in a surprise 0-0 draw against Universidad de Chile in their opening game. The final spot will be contested by Boyacá Chicó of Colombia and Universidad de Chile. Despite trailing the Colombians by two points going into the last Matchday the Chileans travel to Aurora of Bolivia, who alongside Guaraní, have collected no points so far whilst Boyacá Chicó have the unenviable task of getting the point they need away at the Olímpico Monumental against Grêmio. There are lots of permetations for these games which could end up with the drawing of lots to decide who advances.

    Group 8 is a little more clear cut, Club Libertad of Paraguay are confirmed as group winners whilst San Lorenzo of Argentina are defenitely eliminated. The final two places are between the third Mexican invitee San Luis and Universitario of Peru. Universitario need a point from their trip to Buenos Aires against San Lorenzo to guarantee qualification whilst San Luis need to defeat Club Libertad in Luque by at least 2 goals to have any chance of qualification and hope they get a favour from San Lorenzo.

    The remaining Matchday 6 games take place next week.

    Clubs qualified as group winners are Cruzeiro, Grêmio, Club Libertad and São Paulo.

    Clubs qualified as runners up are Estudiantes and Defensor Sporting

    Clubs through to the last 16 but places still to be decided are Caracas, Nacional, Sport Recife and Universidad San Martín

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