BUENOS AIRES - Forward Thiago Ribeiro
hit a hat-trick as Cruzeiro beat Nacional of Uruguay 3-1 at
home on Thursday to move a step closer to their second
successive Libertadores Cup final.
Thiago scored his goals in the sixth, 21st and 41st minutes
for a dominant Cruzeiro side, who aim to make up for losing
last year's final against Estudiantes of Argentina.
Thiago put the Brazilian team ahead when he slipped the
attentions of teenage central defender Sebastian Coates and
beat Rodrigo Munoz with a low shot through the goalkeeper's
Thiago ghosted behind defender Alejandro Lembo to head home
the second from an accurate cross from the right by midfielder
He completed his hat-trick when he raced onto a fine ball
from midfielder Henrique and beat Munoz.
Striker Mario Regueiro pulled one back for Nacional five
minutes into the second half, a goal that may turn out to be
crucial when the teams meet again in next week's second leg in
Universidad de Chile snatched a 1-0 win away to Alianza
Lima at the Monumental in the Peruvian capital with a
86th-minute goal by substitute forward Diego Rivarola in the
second match of the night.
Rivarola beat both Alianza central defenders to the ball
when all three went for a punt out of the Chileans' defence and
raced into the box to shoot over advancing keeper George
Cruzeiro were the second of the five Brazilian teams in the
last 16 to win this week after Flamengo beat fellow Brazilians
Corinthians 1-0 with an Adriano penalty at the Maracana on
Sao Paulo were held 0-0 by Peruvian champions Universitario
in Lima, while Internacional lost 3-1 to Argentina's Banfield
in Buenos Aires.
The first knockout round kicked off on Tuesday when
Argentine sides Estudiantes and Velez Sarsfield travelled to
Mexico. Holders Estudiantes beat San Luis 1-0 but Velez were
hammered 3-0 by Guadalajara.
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