If last week was a low point for the Paraguayan sides in the Copa Libertadores then this week was a brighter moment as Libertad avoided defeat in Peru to remain top of the group while Olimpia won comfortably in Venezuela to also move to the summit.
Sporting Cristal vs Libertad
Estadio Nacional de Perú, Lima
(0-0) 1-1 – Avila; Velazquez
A controlled performance by Libertad who may have felt they were on the bad end of a few refereeing decisions which denied them the win. They took the lead through Pablo Velázquez who was on the end of Nelson Romero’s cutback and had no problem finishing.
Avila equalised with 15 minutes remaining when Benegas got caught flatfooted by a clever flick and Velazquez received his second yellow in the dying stages after some over officious refereeing.
Deportivo Lara vs Olimpia
Estadio Metropolitano, Barquisimeto
(0-3) 1-5 – Mosquera; Bareiro, Miranda, Pittoni (2), Aranda
An emphatic win for Ever Almeida’s side, proving that when the chips are down his players respond for him. Prior to this match the side were four games without victory but they responded in excellent fashion. Three goals before the break, the second shrouded in controversy with the assistant deciding the ball had crossed the line from a Herminio Miranda freekick although replays suggest it bounced down off the crossbar and onto the line.
Wilson Pittoni had his best game in an Olimpia shirt, scoring two and looking very comfortable in the playmaker role usually reserved for Juan Manuel Salgueiro.
By Ralph Hannah