Nacional vs Deportivo Táchira
Estadio Feliciano Caceres
(0-1) 3-2 – German Cano 51′ (pen) & 73′, Silvio Torales 82; Pedro Fernandez 31′, Angel Chourio 80′
For only the second time in ten Copa Libertadores games, Nacional came off after 90 minutes whiffing the sweet smell of victory having almost had it snatched away with just ten minutes remaining. But substitute Silvio Torales scored in the 82nd minute to earn a rare Academia victory in this tournament and keep alive their slim hopes of advancing to the knockout round for the first time in their history.
The away side took a surprise lead after the half hour mark, Herminio Miranda’s weak headed clearance only reached the edge of the box where Pedro Fernandez was on hand to volley in with his left foot. As the sides went in at the break it was an all too depressingly familiar scenario for Nacional, they have now ‘lost’ the first half in their previous five continental matches.
But Javier Torrente’s side are made of stern stuff this year and they also have the impressive young Argentinian striker German Cano who is finding his feet, it was his volley on 49 minutes that beat the goalkeeper and found defender Jackson Clavijo on the line. The Venezuelan got himself in a muddle and ended up batting the ball away with his hand, no other option for the referee to award a penalty and expel the player. Cano himself stepped up to put the ball away emphatically and the balance of power in the game had shifted.
It wasn’t long until Nacional had the lead. Gustavo Cristaldo, making his first start since moving from Luque, whipped a free kick that left the goalkeeper in trouble and as the ball rebounded off the crossbar Cano was the only player quick enough to anticipate it as he headed in his second. That should have been that but veteran substitute Cristian Cásseres played an excellent pass to Angel Chourio who raced onto the ball and lifted it cutely over Ignacio Don. Nacional did have a substitute trick up their sleeve themselves in the shape of Silvio Torales, he had been brought on for Marcos Riveros at 1-1 as he is a more offensive central midfielder and it was at 2-2 that he had a definitive impact. Rodrigo Texeira couldn’t head in a dangerous cross from the right but the ball hit the shins of a Táchira defender and there was Torales arriving late into the box to smash the ball home. Deportivo Táchira’s goalscorer Fernandez ensured that wasn’t the end of the highlights reel as he earned his marching orders to leave his team to play the final three minutes with nine men.
A vital win for Nacional which keeps them afloat in Group 6 especially if Cruz Azul win at home tonight against Corinthians. The game in two weeks, in Venezuela, now takes on huge significance.
Nacional XI: I.Don, R.Mazacotte, D.Caniza, H. Miranda, M.Miers; D.Orué, J.Villareal, M.Riveros, G.Cristaldo; R.Texeira, G.Cano
Subs: Gustavo Noguera for Derlis Orué, Silvio Torales for Marcos Riveros, Angel Orué for Ricardo Mazacotte
By Ralph Hannah