Feb 5, 2008

Lanus, Arsenal Join Libertadores Fray

Copa Sudamericana champs Arsenal de Sarandi and Argentine Apertura winners Lanus both advanced to the group stage of the Copa Libertadores earlier today at the expense of Venezuela's A.C. Mineiros and Ecuadorian side Olmedo, respectively. The Libertadores is widely considered (not just by me) the second-best club competition in the world after the UEFA Champions League.

Lanus' qualification was in doubt for long periods of today's match as el Granate had a 1-0 deficit from the first leg that it did not erase until nearly an hour into the game. Matias Lionel Fritzler (as the name suggests, he has German as well as Argentine nationality) scored via a header in the 58th minute. Santiago Biglieri doubled the lead 20 minutes later and the Argentine champs added a third to settle matters on 84 minutes. In the Libertadores group stage, Lanus will face fellow Argentine side Estudiantes, Danubio of Uruguay and Cuenca from Ecuador.

The Argentine Arse had an easier time of it, with a 2-0 lead from the first leg providing some cushion going into tonight. They ended up losing 2-1, but that was enough to see them through to the group stage, where they will join Paraguay's Libertad, Liga Deportivo Universitario de Quito and Fluminense.

Two of five qualifiers have thus been decided. Still outstanding are Cruzeiro vs. Cerro Porteno of Paraguay (the Brazilians have a 3-1 lead from the first leg, with the second to be played tomorrow), Atlas vs. La Paz, Peru's Cienciano vs. Montevideo Wanderers and Boyaca Chico vs. Audax Italiano.

Photo taken from blogfutbolero.com without permission.

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