BUENOS AIRES - Penarol and Santos, the
earliest winners of the Libertadores Cup, improved their chances
of another title with victories in the first leg of their
quarter-finals ties on Wednesday.
Penarol, who won the first two of their five crowns in 1960
and 1961, benefited from two goalkeeping blunders by Paulo
Garces to beat Universidad Catolica 2-0 at the Centenario in
Santos, whose two titles in South America's elite club
competition came in 1962 and 1963, won 1-0 away against 10-man
Once Caldas, the Colombian team that had upset favourites
Santos went ahead two minutes before half-time when Neymar
delivered a perfectly weighted diagonal pass to the unmarked
Alan Patrick, replacing injured Brazil playmaker Paulo Henrique
Ganso, who shot low past goalkeeper Luis Martinez.
The only Brazilian side left in the competition after four
were knocked out in the first knockout round, Santos almost
increased their lead in the 65th when Elano's curling free-kick
from the left hit the woodwork.
Caldas, who had defender Elkin Calle sent off on the hour
for a second booking, were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty
in added time when striker Wason Renteria was brought down.
However the Colombian side, who have shown better away form
in the competition, will fancy their chances of turning the tie
around in the second leg in Santos next week.
At the Centenario, Garces dropped a cross and striker Juan
Manuel Olivera tapped the loose ball into the net to put Penarol
ahead with his fifth goal in the competition in the 37th minute.
With the final seconds of added-time ticking over, Garces
spilt a long punt into his box and lurking Argentine striker
Alejandro Martinuccio slotted in to give the Uruguayan side an
unexpected two-goal advantage for next week's second leg.
"It's a good advantage but we must go out to play them as
equals in Santiago. They are very strong at home," Man of the
match Martinuccio told Fox Sports.
"We've already seen in this Libertadores Cup that teams can
win at home or away," he added recalling that Penarol upset
Brazilian holders Internacional in Porto Alegre in the first
Catolica came closest to a goal when defender Dario
Rodriguez blocked striker Lucas Pratto's shot on the line.
Two Paraguayan teams are in action on Thursday when Libertad
visit Argentina's Velez Sarsfield, champions in 1994, and Cerro
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