Cruz Azul vs Nacional
(2-1) 4-1 – J.Orozco 21′, Maranhão 45+2′, O.Bravo 66′, E.Perea 81′; G.Cristaldo 43′
Nacional traipsed north to Mexico in a game that had no bearing on the group having already been knocked out and they finished off a dismal campaign with another defeat. The four Cruz Azul goals left them on four points with four losses only picking up a win at home to Táchira and a draw in Venezuela.
Javier Orozco, who scored twice in this fixture in Asunción, was once again a thorn in the tricolor’s side popping up for the opener on 21 minutes. Javier Aquino was given way to much time to bring the ball into the Nacional half and popped a ball over the top which Orozco brought down well before drilling past Ignacio Don in goal. Like that first game Nacional raised hopes briefly with an equaliser through ex-Luque midfielder Gustavo Cristaldo, a well worked goal. Cristaldo played a one-two with Angel Orué to unlock the Mexicans defence and bearing down on the goalkeeper he lifted the ball over him with a delightful chip. But the side were stung minutes later in first half stoppage time when the Brazilian Maranhão let fly from the edge of the penalty area with a strike full of so much venom it beat Don at his near post.
In the second half Maranhão turned provider as Cruz Azul turned the screw, on 66 minutes he tapped Aquino’s cross back into the danger area where veteran striker Omar Bravo was on hand to turn the ball in the net. In the latter stages of the match the Brazilian ran at Nacional before slipping in substitute Edixon Perea with a delicate pass. The Colombian, formerly at Bordeaux, showed his quality with a finish through Don’s legs to complete the rout.
Nacional have now lost four games in a row and parted ways with manager Javier Torrente all eyes are on ex-player Gustavo Moríngio who was in charge last night and has to try and stop the rot on Monday against Tacuary.
Nacional XI: I.Don; R.Mazzacotte, H.Miranda, R.Piris, M.Miers; C.Ruiz Peralta, M.Riveros, S.Torales, G.Cristaldo; A.Orué, A.Bogado
Subs: G.Cano for A.Orué, C.Florenciañez for A.Bogado, D.Orué for C.Ruiz Peralta
By Ralph Hannah