Athletico beat Libertad-PAR 2-1 tonight (28), at Arena da Baixada, in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores. Differently from what happened in the group stage, when Hurricane won 2-0, the visitors did not come rebarred, providing a very open match, with chances for both sides.
All the goals came in the first half, which was the best. At 5′, Vitor Roque took advantage of Terans’ touch and, from the right, hit the top, taking Martin Silva off the ball and opening the scoring. In Pedrinho’s failure, Villalba appeared alone to tie the match in the 19′. In a rehearsed free kick, Cuello left carrying the ball at 31′ before crossing. The ball traveled throughout Libertad’s defense before finding Nicolás Hernandez, who deflected it the way he did for the goal.
The return clash between the clubs takes place next Tuesday (5), at 21:30, at Defensores Del Chaco. Hurricane advances in case of a new victory or a draw, while Alvinegro needs to win by two goals to qualify.
In the group stage, Alvinegro won at home by 1 to 0. If the difference of one goal is repeated next week —regardless of the score—, the decision for the spot in the quarterfinals will take place on penalties.
Who did well: Vitor Roque
At 17, the striker became the youngest athlete to score a goal with Athletico in the Libertadores. In an inspired night, the red-black revelation made the opposing defense hell, with its dribbles and its speed. He also appeared well to complete plays.
Who was wrong: Barboza suffers from speed
The Libertad defender proved to be very slow and unable to run after Athletico’s forwards. He almost gave up the gold twice when pressed on defense, and even took a beautiful Terans hat.
Athletico’s performance: Speed through the sides
The people of Paraná bet too much on the sides to architect the offensive plays. When the rival was no longer closed, Hurricane bet on direct connection. Goalkeeper Bento tried, several times, to throw straight to the wings. When the Paraguayans were well placed, the quick exchange of passes was the way out.
Libertad performance: Free play
Unlike what they presented in the group stage, when they played well back against Athletico at Arena da Baixada, Libertad adopted a more aggressive stance. The team managed to find spaces in the Hurricane defense, mainly on the left.
Libertad started better, putting the ball on the ground to design the plays, but Hurricane opened the scoring in the 5′, in their first arrival on goal, with Vitor Roque. The visitors regained control of the game and managed to equalize in the 19′, with Villalba’s header. The scenario remained the same until the 31′, when Nicolás Hernández replaced the hosts in front. The Paraguayans seem to have felt the blow, causing the Rubro-Negro to grow in the final minutes of the initial stage.
After the conversation in the changing rooms, the visitors adopted a less aggressive posture in the first 15 minutes. Barboza had a header chance on 18′, and Melgarejo unleashed a shot that shook the crossbar in the next minute. In a mistake on the ball, Terans had the clearest chance to extend with a shot from the half moon, however, Martín Silva made a great save and spread. In the final half of the second half, the duel slowed down.
Terans, Vitor Roque and Cuello set the pace
The Hurricane trio made Libertad’s defense hell. Fast and skillful, the players were able to beat the mark and create opportunities for the team. The first goal, by Vitor Roque, came out on the right after a beautiful assist from Terans. In the second, Cuello carried the ball until he made the cross that went through the entire Paraguayan defense before Hernández deflected it into the net with his leg.
Cuello still risked from afar and hit the crossbar at 36′ of the first stage. At 38′, Terans applied a beautiful hat to Barboza and crossed for Vitor Roque to head wide. He still had another chance with his head in the 40′, but he went up badly and Terans tried to ride a bicycle in the spare, when VAR indicated a possible touch in the defender’s hand. However, the penalty was not scored due to Roque’s offside.
Libertad’s goal came in huge hesitation from the side of the Hurricane. Samudio raised in the area and Villalba appeared alone at the second post to send the first to the back of the net. Pedrinho took a long time to come back and left the opponent alone and in legal condition to score the goal. In addition, the defender did not make a good showing, sinning too much in the marking and being very shy in the attack.
The match was calm and with few fouls, but the Athletico coach returned to the second without midfielder Christian. The only player to receive the yellow card before the break, the player gave way to Erick.
Before the return match next week, the teams take to the field this weekend. In the last round of the Apertura, Libertad visits Resistencia on Friday (1), at 20:15. On Saturday (2), at 9 pm, Hurricane goes to Allianz Parque to face Palmeiras in the 15th round of the Brasileirão.
Covid-19 causes casualties in both teams
Left-back Abner was left out of the match after being diagnosed with the disease and made room for Pedrinho, just 19 years old. On the Paraguayan side, coach Daniel Garnero and defender Pablo Aguilar were also low because of the coronavirus.
ATHLETICO-PR 2 x 1 LIBERTAD-PAR
Competition: Copa Libertadores – Round of 16 first leg
Date: June 28, 2022, Tuesday
Time: 21:30 (from Brasilia)
Place: Arena da Baixada, in Curitiba (PR)
Referee: Alexis Herrera (VEN)
assistants: Carlos Lopez (VEN) and Lubin Torrealba (VEN)
VAR: Jhon Perdomo (COL)
goals: Vitor Roque, at 5’/1st (ATH); Villalba, at 19’/1st (LIB); Nicolás Hernández, at 31’/1st (ATH)
Yellow cards: Christian (ATH); Barboza, Campuzano (LIB).
ATHLETIC-PR: Benedict; Khelven, Pedro Henrique, Nicolás Hernández and Pedrinho; Hugo Moura, Christian (Erick), and Terans (Vitor Bueno); Vitor Roque (Romulo), Cuello (Matheus Babi) and Pedro Rocha (Canobbio). Technician: Felipe.
LIBERTAD-PAR: Martín Silva; Villalba (Franco), Barboza, Diego Vieira and Samudio; Mayada (Iván Piris), Campuzano, Ramón Martínez (Mendieta), Diego Gómez (Merlini) and Diego Melgarejo; Roque Santa Cruz (Oscar Cardozo). Technician: Andrés San Martin.