Libertad vs Universidad de Chile
Estadio Nicolas Leóz
(1-0) 1-1 – Víctor Cáceres 8′; Gustavo Lorenzetti 55′
The 1st leg of this quarter final tie lived up to the billing with a fascinating match, particularly the first half, which Libertad may feel disappointed not to have won. An early goal from Víctor ‘Topo’ Cáceres set the home team on their way after a blistering start but momentary slack marking in an otherwise excellent defensive display allowed Gustavo Lorenzetti to equalise. The final stages of the game couldn’t live up to the early intensity with the most notable incident, Emilio Hernández’s late red card.
Libertad lined up as expected in a 4-4-2 but rather than sit back early on they looked to attack their opponents weak spots and harried and pressed the Chileans in midfield. The first chance came after a minute when Luciano Civelli was free on the left and put José Ariel Nuñez through on goal, the striker was slightly off balance and his weak shot on his unfavoured left foot was saved. On seven minutes the same two players combined to devastating effect, once again La U were forced into the mistake and Nuñez held the ball up well before releasing Civelli with a clever backheel; the Argentine winger burst into the area and his measured ball across goal was turned in by Topo Cáceres who had broken into the box.
Of course Universidad de Chile had possession, at one point Lorenzetti thought he should have had a penalty for a push, but everytime the away side attacked they encountered an organised wall of black and white with players lurking on the counter attack. After 17 minutes it could have been 2-0, Miguel Samudio was the furthest man forward on a counter attack but the left back screwed his shot wide of goal. The defender had an identical chance later in the half that forced a save but arguably the best chances towards the end of the half were for Libertad’s opponents. 18-year-old Angelo Henríquez saw his point blank header saved by Rodrigo Muñoz, an excellent stop by the Uruguayan keeper who also tipped over a fizzing long shot from Marcelo Díaz just before halftime.
Libertad had been at their best in the first half when they got at Universidad de Chile and pressed them all over the pitch, they started the second period in that manner with Nuñez a thorn in the visitor’s side. He had a very good game, holding up the ball, pressing and showing excellent movement. Libertad looked to be back in control but were pegged back after a momentary lack of concentration. Matías Rodriguez got forward and found Lorenzetti in space in front of the Libertad defence, it was the first time all evening he had seen so much room to work in and the 27-year-old Argentine took full advantage unleashing a left foot shot that deflected off Carlos Bonet to creep into the corner. It was frustrating for Libertad and Jorge Burruchaga who up to that point had been so disciplined and followed the game plan to the letter.
After the goal the game died down, Rodolfo Gamarra had come on for Bonet and had a couple of dangerous crosses one of which fell to Civelli who shot straight at the goalkeeper.In general though it was the away side that had a better grip on the game but couldn’t find another hole in the Guma’s defensive shield. In the final minutes substitute Emilio Hernandez of Universidad de Chile was shown his marching orders for a nasty looking tackle on Sergio Aquino. It was a blemish on an otherwise excellent game of football, one that Libertad performed well in but ultimately the advantage lies with their adversary going into the second leg in Santiago.
Libertad XI: Rodrigo Muñoz; Carlos Bonet, Cristian Nasuti, Ismael Benegas, Miguel Samudio; Víctor Ayala, Victor Cáceres, Sergio Aquino, Luciano Civelli; José Ariel Núñez, Pablo Velázquez
Subs: Rodolfo Gamarra for Carlos Bonet, Cristian Ménendez for Pablo Velázquez, Maurito Caballero for Luciano Civelli
2nd Leg: Thursday 24th May, Santiago, Chile, 21.30 (02.30 BST)
By Ralph Hannah