Copa Libertadores 2012: Mixed fortunes for Olimpia and Libertad

Libertad vs Alianza Lima
Estadio Dr. Nicolas Leoz
(0-1) 4-1 – Civelli ’46, Aquino (pen) ’66, Caballero ’78, Ibañez (og) ’90; Arroé ’27

Maurito shined in the victory Photo: abc.com.py

Libertad suffered an early surprise to comfortably overcome Alianza Lima and record consecutive 4-1 victories in this year’s Copa Libertadores. The game began with the home side dominating possession as forecast but just before the half hour mark they were stung with an unexpected goal from Joaozinho Arroé. The Peruvian forward capitalised on a slip by Ismael Benegas which gave Lima a 4 vs 2 and slotted home. Even the striker himself looked a bit shocked.

Libertad went into the break one goal down but were by no means out of the contest, the introduction of 17-year-old Maurito Caballero (for the injured Nuñez) gave the Gumarelo a new lease of life . Just before half time the youngster opened the play for left winger Luciano Civelli who struck the post, moments later Topo Caceres (who seemed to be wearing a sleevless top!) shot inches wide from distance.

Predictably it took less than a minute of the second half for Libertad, Civelli the man on hand to follow up Caballero’s long range effort that was too hot to handle. It was now a question of when not if Libertad would score again, Maurito Caballero had been excellent in linking up between midfield and attack as Aquino and Caceres dominated the ball in the middle. The goal came from the penalty spot, Sergio Aquino got on the scoresheet but again it was Caballero involved, the teenager winning the spot kick. Finally, after 78 minutes Caballero got the goal he deserved, having received Civelli’s pass he cut in with ease and just as the ball seemed to be getting away from him he slid forward to poke the ball over and past the Alianza keeper.

The rout was completed in the final minute of the game, a wicked low cross from Aquino was turned in by defender Ibañez – if he hadn’t met the cross it was likely the fantastic Caballero would have tapped in his second. The best way to describe this precocious talent is a Paraguayan Robbie Fowler – seriously he’s that good.

Libertad XI – 4-4-2

R. Muñoz; C. Bonet, J. Bizera, I.Benegas, M.Samudio; R.Gamarra, V.Caceres, S.Aquino, L.Civelli; J.A.Nuñez, P.Velazquez

Subs: M. Caballero for J.A.Nuñez ’37, C.Menéndez for P.Velázquez ’71, R.Gamarra for V.Ayala

Yellow Cards: I.Benegas ’54

M.o.M: Luciano Civelli

===============================================================================

Emelec vs Olimpia
Estadio George Capwell, Guayaquil
(0-0), 1-0 – Figueroa (pen) ’50

Mud bath anyone? Photo: AFP

Eight years on, El retorno del Rey (The return of the king) was a damp squib ruined by the torrential rain in Ecuador. An incredible downpour before the game and at the start of the second half left the playing surface virtually unplayable although in the Copa Libertadores the tight schedule doesn’t allow postponements so the game went ahead without a fuss.

The old adage goes something like ‘it is the same for both sides’ – but the reality was the waterlogged pitch made counter attacking football impossible therefore seriously denting Olimpia’s chances of a goal. The likelihood of any goal from open play was close to nil and set pieces were set to dominate. Emelec seemed to have adapted better, and their shaven-headed Argentine striker Luciano Figueroa (who played for Birmingham once upon a time) was the most threatening person on the pitch by a mile.

It was Figueroa who scored the only goal of the game, a penalty, following a very harsh decision on Olimpia’s Nájera. The Colombian was adjudged to have pushed Figueroa as the pair tussled to meet a cross from the frighteningly fast Enner Valencia  (no relation to Luis Antonio). So many times a goal has spurred Olimpia on but they  just couldn’t get a foothold in this match. Sergio Orteman, steam rising off his bald head, barked orders, directed as he has done so many times before in this tournament but it was in vain.

The game of few chances and little football ended with the sending off of Pablo Zeballos. The Olimpia striker only came on with half an hour remaining and found himself swiftly in the referee’s book for a wild sliding challenge in the mud. But the red card was for his tongue not his legs – a fierce verbal exchange with the linesman was too much for Colombian referee Wilmar Roldán who expelled the 25-year-old in stoppage time. Fatherhood clearly hasn’t brought maturity just yet!

Olimpia XI – 3-5-2

M.Silva; F. Nájera, A.Romero, E.Meza; O.Hobecker, S.Orteman, F.Caballero, V.Marín, S.Ariosa; M.Biancucchi, L.Caballero

Subs: P.Zeballos for S.Ariosa ’61, E.Revoredo for O.Hobecker, S.Almirón for M.Biancucchi ’88

Yellow Cards: F. Nájera ’48, E.Meza ’66, P.Zeballos ’74

Red Card: P.Zeballos ’93

By Ralph Hannah

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One response to “Copa Libertadores 2012: Mixed fortunes for Olimpia and Libertad

  1. Pingback: Copa Libertadores Preview: Nacional (URU) vs Libertad | The Paraguay Football Blog

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