Nacional vs Corinthians
Estadio Oddone Sarubbi
(0-1) 1-3 – Carlos Ruiz Peralta -68′, Jorge Henrique 29′, Emerson 52′, Elton 71′
Nacional’s hopes of qualifying from the group stages for the first time were dashed in Ciudad del Este by a rampant Corinthians side who progress to the knockout phase. In a stadium full of Corinthians fans, who had swarmed across the Paraguay/Brazil border during the afternoon to watch the game, the tricolor were made to feel as visitors in their designated home game. The crowd support seemed to give the Timão the push they needed to record their first away win in the Copa Libertadores this year.
It was the Paraguayans who began brightly, Ricardo Teixeira was important in holding ball up and came close after five minutes with a header just wide from Marcos Riveros’ cross. On the ten minute mark Derlis Orué profited from a poor backpass which gave him space in the box to release a vicious shot, that was tipped over despite a deflection by the defender. But Corinthians were always a menace on the break especially with Emerson building attacks and running with pace at the Nacional rearguard. By the time captain Jorge Henrique opened the scoring on 29 minutes it was fair to say the goal had been coming although fingers were pointed at the reaction of Ignacio Don. The Argentinian goalkeeper was beaten at his near post by Henrique’s crafty shot from the edge of the penalty area. The final quarter of an hour was pockmarked by fouls from both sides and it was from a freekick that Nacional nearly equalised. Herminio Miranda rattled the crossbar from 30 yards having seen Julio Cesar was poorly positioned.
The second half began with a Brazilian onslaught which the Asunción side were unprepared for, the sheer pace of the game seemed to unbalance them. They were unable to reorganise the defence on 52 minutes as some incisive passing got the ball to Edenilson who danced through the backline and when he was knocked off the ball it was picked up by Emerson who took it round the keeper for a simple tap in. Other than a Ricardo Mazzacotte shot, expertly saved by the goalkeeper, the São Paulo club were cruising and it was somewhat of a shock when Nacional halved the lead. It came on 68 minutes through substitute Carlos Ruiz Peralta, a superb overhead kick after Silvio Torales’ shot had been saved. But before the small pocket of home fans had time to celebrate Emerson was at it again this time providing the third goal for Elton. Denis Caniza was unable to cut out a loose ball which rolled into the box, Emerson was alive to sprint past Marcos Miers who had switched off. His pass was turned in from a few yards by Elton and with that strike the Corinthians carnaval began.
They played out the final 20 minutes with total ease, Nacional are no Olimpia and they weren’t going to find three goals in 15 minutes, the only incident of note was a brief stoppage to the game to wait for the smoke of the Timão’s flares to clear. Corinthians continue their quest for a first continental title but for Nacional time is up. A dead rubber in Mexico City awaits and then it is back to the bread and butter of the domestic championship as they try and gather together points to qualify for 2013.
Nacional XI: I.Don; R.Mazacotte, H.Miranda, D.Caniza, M.Miers; D.Orué, J.Villarreal, M. Riveros, S. Torales; G.Cano, R.Teixeira
Subs: J.Gonzalez for D.Orué, C.Ruiz Peralta for M.Riveros, A.Bogado for R.Teixeira
By Ralph Hannah