Olimpia vs Lanús
Estadio Nicolas Leoz
(1-0) 2-1 – Marín ’21, Biancucchi ’80; Araujo ’71
Olimpia needed a win no matter what to remain in contention to progress from Group 2 and they did just that putting style to one side to grind out a vital victory. The win puts Olimpia joint top and was Lanús’ first taste of defeat in Asunción having previously beaten Guaraní and drawn with Libertad in the Paraguayan capital.
The first half was a rather cagey and scrappy affair, both teams were quite happy to concede possession and territory if it meant a chance of exploiting space on the counter attack. The danger of course was that by conceding possession you were more likely to committ fouls and both teams found themselves giving away free kicks and often in dangerous areas. Olimpia were the team to profit from this approach, after 25 minutes Vladimir Marín put the three-time winners ahead with a free kick from the right, his looping cross missed everybody and crept into the far corner.
The remainder of the half saw little chances, a Mariano Pavone shot on the turn went just wide but then Lanús’ captain and playmaker Diego Valeri had to be replaced having suffered a nasty clash with Salustino Candia. Olimpia nearly lost Luis Caballero too, the 21-year-old striker went down in the box and was next pictured on our TV screens vomiting violently over the advertising hoardings. He survived until the second half but trudged off looking worse for wear, still unsure what the diagnosis is.
The second half was a much more open affair, Lanús had decided to risk things a bit more and should have got their reward on 53 minutes, Pavone’s goal was wrongly disallowed for offside. Olimpia were able to capitalise on some of the space that appeared, Orteman had shown glimpses of class throughout the first half but the second half was one for Maxi Biancucchi. The Argentine forward went on a mazy dribble and saw his shot beaten away by Lanús’ goalkeeper who minutes later made a great save from another Marín freekick. After 71 minutes a goal did finally come, and it was an equaliser, a tricky run by substitute Silvio Romero who cut the ball back to Carlos Araujo who finished with aplomb.
Romero was a constant threat since coming on and he seemed to have galvinised the Buenos Aires side who kept pushing for a memorable victory, it seemed for all the world that the winner would come from them yet it was Olimpia who stole the points. Marín and Biancucchi combined superbly down the right playing a series of give and goes to tear the Lanús defence apart and stun the Argentines with Biancucchi scoring his first Copa Libertadores goal for Olimpia.
Lanús were not going to give up, Martin Silva was forced into three tremendous saves in the final stages of the game the first two with his hands the last with his feet as Olimpia showed that cup ‘garra’ they are famous for to hold on.
Olimpia XI (4-4-2)
M.Silva, R.Revoredo, A.Romero, E.Meza, S.Candia; O.Hobecker, S.Orteman, F.Caballero, V.Marin; L. Caballero, M.Biancucchi
Subs: Sergio Almirón for Luis Caballero ’69, Edgar Aranda for Osvaldo Hobecker ’78, Carlos Humberto Paredes for Fabio Caballero ’83
Yellow Cards: R.Revoredo ’21, M.Silva ’92
By Ralph Hannah