Cerro Porteño vs Colón de Santa Fe
(1-1) 2-1 – Nanni, Dos Santos; Gigliotti
A pulsating game of football that had everything ended in victory for Cerro Porteño who reach the quarter finals as they bid to become the first Paraguayan side to win the Copa Sudamericana. The night was ruined by a riot amongst the Colón de Santa Fe barra which caused the game to be suspended for almost thirty minutes as the Paraguayan riot police waded in and dispersed the crowd in their typical heavy-handed manner (rubber bullets the method of choice). It was a sad incident that shouldn’t take away from a wonderful game of football, both teams positive and happy to attack.
The game came to life after just 60 seconds, former San Lorenzo man Emanuel Gigliotti headed home wonderkid Luis Mugni’s freekick as the Argentine side levelled the tie on aggregate. There was no way Cerro Porteño would try and hold on for an away goals win, they kept pressing and the tirless work by Fidencio Oviedo in defensive midfield was key in the equaliser that came after 11 minutes. Oviedo won the ball and played it into Roberto Nanni, the 2011 Copa Libertadores top scorer used his strength to hold off his marker and backheel the ball for Oviedo who had continued his run into the box, his pull back found Nanni who finished well. It was his third consecutive goal in this year’s tournament and his 13th in continental competitions for El Ciclón.
The winning goal came in the 69th minute, Fabbro had been relatively quiet but he showed his quality with a perfectly measured cross over that avoided the marker at the back post to find Julio Dos Santos. The midfielder chested the ball down and struck the ball coolly towards goal only to be denied by a Colon defender’s hand. The referee pointed to the spot and sent off the defender only to reverse his decision almost immediately on the advice of his assistant who indicated the ball was over the line. Goal given, red card rescinded with the replays vindicating the decision.
The game flowed for a few more minutes after the goal but the visiting fans had grown restless and began throwing stones and anything they could get their hands on. After 77 minutes the game was stopped as the Paraguayan riot police (Cascos Azules) swarmed into the stands to beat back the fans, unable to disperse the Argentinian supporters they began to fire rubber bullets into the air. Two Colon players were sent off in the aftermath for entering the stands – mixed reports as to whether they were looking out for their family or hitting policemen. Once the game did restart it was very subdued, Cerro didn’t particularly look for a third and Colon were just hanging on with 9 men, it was a shame to end such a good game in this way. Ultimately Cerro were good for their victory and fully deserve their place in the last eight as they look for more silverware in their centenary year.
Next Opponent: Tigre (ARG) or Deportivo Quito (ECU)
By Ralph Hannah