BUENOS AIRES - Velez Sarsfield underlined
their Libertadores Cup favourites tag with an emphatic 4-2 win
away to Paraguay's Libertad that carried them into the
semi-finals on Wednesday.
The Argentine side were joined by twice winners Santos of
Brazil after their 1-1 draw at home to Colombia's Once Caldas
put them through 2-1 on aggregate.
Diminutive midfielder Maxi Moralez scored Velez's first two
goals at the Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion as their
quarter-final second leg victory put them through 7-2 on
"This is a team that can achieve great things," Moralez,
voted man of the match, told Fox Sports.
Trailing 3-0 after the first leg, Libertad took the lead one
minute before half-time when midfielder Rodrigo Rojas volleyed
home a cross from the left with goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero
rooted to the spot.
Velez, South American champions in 1994, hit back
immediately when Moralez ran on to fellow midfielder Victor
Zapata's through ball to shoot past keeper Tobias Vargas less
than a minute later.
Striker Manuel Maciel restored the home side's lead six
minutes into the second half with a hard drive from the left
across the face of goal and past the diving Barovero into bottom
The Argentine side's second equaliser came in the 67th
minute from a fine attack on the left with Moralez passing to
Emiliano Papa and receiving the defender's back-heel in his
stride to shoot past Vargas.
Former Mexico striker Guillermo Franco, who came on in the
63rd minute in his comeback from surgery on a knee injury three
months ago, converted a penalty after being brought down to put
Velez ahead in the 86th.
Midfielder Augusto Fernandez made it four a minute later
when he sidestepped a challenge in the middle of the box before
rifling a deflected shot high into the net.
Santos, 1-0 up from the first leg in Manizales, went ahead
in the 12th minute at the Pacaembu in Sao Paulo when Neymar took
a square ball from midfielder Danilo, entered the box and shot
past goalkeeper Luis Martinez.
Striker Wason Renteria equalised when he tapped in the loose
ball following a poor clearance from a corner for his fifth goal
in the competition.
Neymar had the chance to win the match for Santos five
minutes from time when he was brought down in the box but
Martinez saved the penalty.
Five times champions Penarol of Uruguay take a 2-0 lead to
Santiago on Thursday for the second leg against Universidad
Catolica, while Cerro Porteno host Chiapas in Asuncion following
last week's 1-1 draw in Mexico.
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