Substitute Rafael Sobis
struck late to ensure Brazil's Fluminense became the first team
to qualify for the Libertadores Cup last 16 with a 1-0 win away
to Zamora of Venezuela on Thursday.
Ten-man Boca Juniors are close to joining Fluminense in the
first knockout round after a 2-0 home win over fellow Argentine
side Arsenal in the night's other Group Four match.
Fluminense, finalists in 2008, have taken all 12 points from
their four matches, putting them five ahead of Boca with Arsenal
on three and Zamora one and virtually eliminated.
Former Brazil striker Sobis came on as a substitute at La
Carolina in the 75th minute and scored from a free-kick three
Six-times South American champions Boca were the more
incisive side at La Bombonera despite being a man short from the
37th minute, when holding midfielder Leandro Somoza was sent off
for a second booking.
Boca went ahead in the 50th minute when striker Santiago
Silva, still looking for his first goal in his eighth match,
backheeled to Juan Roman Riquelme whose low shot was parried by
goalkeeper Cristian Campestrini only for midfielder Pablo
Ledesma to follow up and turn the ball into the net.
Silva also set up Boca's second goal one minute from time
with a well-weighted pass to substitute Juan Sanchez Mino, who
scored with a low shot.
"Winning with 10 men is the same as winning with 11. We're
going to have to improve a lot to reach the final but we want to
qualify first," Boca captain Riquelme told Fox Sports.
"Silva had a great match. He's not scoring but he's doing a
great job for us," he said of the burly, shaven-headed striker
nicknamed 'Tank', who joined Boca from Fiorentina in January.
With all teams having played four of their six matches in
the eight groups, two more sides are virtually out of the
running and Peruvian champions Juan Aurich have already been
Juan Aurich have zero points in Group One which is led by
title holders Santos on nine points with fellow Brazilians
Internacional and The Strongest of Bolivia on seven apiece.
Uruguay's Penarol, one of the great teams of South America
with five titles who reached a record 10th final last year, are
six points behind second-placed Universidad de Chile in Group
Eight. Penarol have only one point and a minus-six goals record
having lost to the Chileans 2-1 on Tuesday.
Colombia's Atletico Junior are in a similar position in
Group Three with one point, six adrift of joint leaders Union
Espanola of Chile and Bolivar of Bolivia, and five behind
Chile's Universidad Catolica.
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