Cruz Azul, Union Espanola win openers
Javier Orozco scored both goals to lead Mexican side Cruz Azul to a 2-1 victory over Paraguay’s Nacional in the group round of the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday.
In two other group matches, Union Espanola of Chile defeated Colombia’s Junior 2-0, while Nacional of Uruguay defeated Brazil’s Vasco da Gama 2-1.
Play in the 32-team group stage kicked off this week with for four more matches set for Thursday.
All the action in Cruz Azul’s victory in Group 6 took place in the first 30 minutes.
With temperatures at 40 Celsius (104 Fahrenheit), the Mexicans went ahead in the 5th minute with Orozco’s first goal, then made it 2-0 in the 28th with his second. Ariel Bogado scored for Nacional in the 20th.
Argentine referee Nestor Pitana stopped the match twice in each half to let the players rehydrate.
In Group 3 at Santiago, Chile, Union Espanola of Chile came to life after a poor first half controlled mostly by Colombia’s Junior.
Emanuel Herrara gave Union Espanola the lead in the 64th minute, scoring from a corner kick. A minute later, Fernando Cordero made it 2-0. Cordero also just missed scoring later in the match on long shot that Junior keeper Sebastian Viera tipped over the crossbar.
At Rio de Janeiro, Nacional of Uruguay took a 1-0 lead in the 30th minute of their Group 5 match when Vasco defender Dede found his own net while trying to clear a corner kick cross.
The Uruguayans increased the lead at Sao Januario stadium just a minute into the second half when Vicente Sanchez scored with a diving header from inside the area.
Vasco pulled one back thanks to striker Alecsandro in the 75th after a cross by former Brazil midfielder Juninho.
The Brazilian club had a goal disallowed in the 89th after Ecuadorean striker Carlos Tenorio was offside when he headed the ball into the net.
In matches Thursday, Internacional of Brazil plays Peru club Juan Aurich in Group 1, Emelec of Ecuador faces Paraguay’s Olimpia in Group 2, and Chile’s Universidad Catolica plays Bolivar of Bolivia in Group 3. In Group 5, Paraguay’s Libertad faces Alianza Lima of Peru.