Copa Libertadores Roundup, April 19
Defending champion Internacional, Chiapas of Mexico and Colombia’s Once Caldas progressed to the final 16 of the Copa Libertadores on Tuesday.
Brazil’s Internacional had a 2-0 home win against Emelec of Ecuador, while Chiapas also qualified from Group 6 despite losing 2-1 at Bolivia’s Jorge Wilstermann.
Once Caldas, Libertadores champion in 2004, won 2-0 at Universidad San Martin of Peru to nail down second spot in Group 1 behind already-qualified Libertad of Paraguay, which beat Mexico’s San Luis 2-0.
The results mean 12 of the 16 places in the knockout round have been decided. The remaining four berths will be decided Wednesday.
Rafael Sobis opened the scoring for Internacional seven minutes after the interval.
Andres D’Alessandro crossed the ball to Leandro Damiao, who headed it on for Sobis to nod past Javier Klimowicz.
Leandro Damiao scored the second from a rebound after Klimowicz saved Pablo Guinazu’s shot in the 84th.
Despite the win, D’Alessandro has warned his team-mates they will need to improve.
"We have to celebrate the qualification. It was very tough. The team can still improve,” he said.
"If we want to keep dreaming, we must keep working. We fixed some things during the interval and we managed to win the match.”
Inter’s win was good news for Chiapas. The Mexican side would have been eliminated by any other result after losing to the group’s basement club Wilstermann.
Francisco Torres gave Chiapas an early lead in the eight minute, but Julio Frias was sent off for the Mexican side in the 51st and Wilstermann rallied.
Rogelio Fabio Lima leveled the scores in the 77th and Nicolas Torres got the winner five minutes later to salvage some pride for Wilstermann.
The results gave Inter top spot in Group 6 on 13 points from six matches, with Chiapas through in second on nine points.
Later Tuesday, goals from Wason Renteria in the 17th and Matias Mirabaje in the 77th sealed Once Caldas’ 2-0 victory at San Martin.
Renteria opened the scoring with a left-footed shot before Matias Mirabaje sealed the win with a 74th minute free-kick.
Universidad’s disappointing day then got worse as Adan Balbin and Orlando Contreras were sent off in the closing minutes.
Once Caldas forward Dayro Moreno told Fox Sports: "We are very, very happy. The coaching staff and the players have shown humility and sacrifice and it helped us progress in the tournament.”
Jorge Gonzalez and Nicolas Pavlovich scored first-half goals for group winner Libertad at home against San Luis.