Godoy Cruz leapt from last to first in Copa Libertadores Group Eight by winning 3-1 at fellow Argentine club Independiente on Thursday.
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Godoy Cruz moved ahead of Uruguay’s Penarol on goal difference on six points after three games. Independiente and Ecuador’s Liga de Quito have three points apiece.
Also Thursday, Chile’s Union Espanola won 2-1 against Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield and Paraguay’s Cerro Porteno drew 1-1 with Venezuela’s Deportivo Tachira.
Facundo Parra opened for Independiente in the 16th against Godoy Cruz, but a deflected Nicolas Olmedo header leveled the scores in the 29th. Ariel Rojas scored in the 33rd to put Godoy Cruz ahead and Ruben Ramirez added the third in the 57th.
Olmedo’s header from a free kick looked to have been turned into his own net by Independiente defender Hernan Fredes, but the referee gave the goal to the Godoy Cruz player.
Rojas scored with a low shot curled into the bottom corner from the edge of the area and Ramirez sealed the win with a lofted finish in the second half.
”We were able to play coolly because after they opened the scoring we equalized and quickly went ahead. The third goal helped us to relax,” said Ramirez.
In the Chilean capital Santiago, Martin Liguera gave Union Espanola the lead against Velez Sarsfield in the fifth minute and Braulio Leal increased the advantage in the 27th.
David Ramirez reduced the deficit with a 70th-minute goal for Velez, but the Argentine club was unable to find an equalizer despite heavy pressure on Union’s goal in the final minutes.
The result put Union level on four points with compatriot Universidad Catolica in Group Four. Venezuelan side Caracas is the surprise leader at the group’s halfway point with six points, while Velez is last with three.
In Group Five, Deportivo Tachira’s Sergio Herrera dribbled through two challenges before hitting a left-footed shot into the top corner from 30 yards (meters) to equalize for the Venezuelans in the 61st minute at Cerro Porteno.
Roberto Nanni had given the home side the lead in the 28th with his sixth goal of the tournament to lead the scoring charts.
The draw kept Cerro Porteno atop the group with five points after playing a game more than Chile’s Colo Colo, which has three. Santos of Brazil has two from two, while Tachira has two from three.