BUENOS AIRES - Record seven-times
champions Independiente opened the 2011 Libertadores Cup with a
2-0 home win over Deportivo Quito in the first leg of a
preliminary round tie on Tuesday.
Independiente, playing in South America's elite club
competition for the first time since 2004 and facing a long
haul if they are to reach their eighth final in June, went
ahead with a 50th-minute debut goal by new signing Matias
The Reds, from the Buenos Aires suburb of Avellaneda, who
won the last of their seven titles in 1984, are the biggest
name in the six preliminary round ties, which also includes
Brazilian big guns Corinthians, still looking for their first
Independiente, who have struggled in the domestic league,
qualified for the competition by winning last year's
second-tier Copa Sudamericana and reinforced their team
bringing Defederico home from Corinthians.
Defederico pounced on a poor clearance of Andres Silvera's
left cross to open the scoring with a left-footed shot and
substitute Patricio Rodriguez netted the second in the 70th
minute from Nicolas Cabrera's free-kick.
"I'm confident we will go through. It's a good difference
(of two goals) and we must make sure we defend it," midfielder
Roberto Battion said looking ahead to the second leg in Quito
The group phase starts in two week's time when holders
Internacional of Brazil take their bow away to Ecuador's Emelec
in the Pacific port city of Guayaquil in Group Six on February 16
bidding for a third title after first triumphing in 2006.
In Group Seven, Argentine champions Estudiantes face
Cruzeiro on February 16 for the first time since meeting the
Brazilian side in the 2009 final which they won to lift their
Group Three appears to be the toughest with Brazilian
champions Fluminense, three-times winners Nacional of Uruguay,
1985 champions Argentinos Juniors of Argentina and Mexican
giants America. Flu are at home to Argentinos in Rio de Janeiro
in their opening match on February 9.
Argentina's Boca Juniors, who won the trophy four times
between 2000 and 2007 and six times overall, are notable
absentees along with their arch-rivals River Plate, twice
winners who have also fallen on hard times.
If Independiente win their tie, they will go into Group
Eight and meet Uruguayan five-times champions Penarol at home
in their February 24 opener, a clash steeped in Libertadores Cup
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