Universidad and Liga de Quito through
Chilean side Universidad and Ecuador’s Liga de Quito completed the Copa Sudamericana semi-final line-up by seeing off Argentinian club Arsenal and Paraguay’s Libertad in their respective quarter-finals on Thursday.
Universidad, leading 2-1 from the first leg in Argentina, defeated Arsenal 3-0 to reach the last four for the first time and set up a semi-final date with Brazilian side Vasco da Gama.
It took only 10 minutes for the hosts to open the scoring, Eduardo Vargas coolly slotting home while the visiting defence appealed in vain for offside.
Vargas turned provider for Francisco Castro to double Universidad’s advantage before the interval.
That forced Arsenal to press forward after the break, but any hopes they harboured of an unlikely comeback were extinguished in the 55th minute when Gustavo Canales took advantage of a defensive mistake to make it 3-0.
Universidad comfortably controlled the remainder game, with Arsenal’s cause further hampered by the 64th-minute dismissal of striker Luciano Leguizamon for a bad foul on Marcelo Diaz.
While Universidad were reaching the last four for the first time, Liga de Quito were achieving the feat for the third straight year – but they needed a penalty shootout to eliminate Libertad.
Liga had won the first leg 1-0 at home and looked set to progress by that score on aggregate, but a 90th-minute goal by Pablo Velazquez levelled things up overall.
However, neither side could score again in extra time and Liga goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez proved the hero of the shootout, saving Manuel Maciel’s spot-kick to give his team a 5-4 win.
"We could have won it in regular time, but it was a very tough game,” Liga coach Edgardo Bauza said.
"We were forced to play defensively because they played more and more forwards, and playing at their home it was hard.
"We’re among the top four and that’s always a proud achievement.”