Boca Juniors close to qualifying for Libertadores' next round
Boca Juniors beat Barcelona of Ecuador 1-0 yesterday at La Bombonera stadium in a match for Group One of the Libertadores Cup.
Carlos Bianchi’s side climbed to the top of the group standings after their first home victory in the competition, and will qualify for the next round if Nacional of Uruguay defeat Toluca of Mexico today. Barcelona were eliminated.
Nicolás Blandi played in the first team as the coach gave him a vote of confidence and the striker responded with the winning goal in the eighth minute.
Boca’ star Juan Román Riquelme returned to the team after recovering from an injury and played the whole match. Although the playmaker felt slight pain at the beginning of the game, he said after it that he is fully fit and will play on Sunday for the Argentine tournament if the coach decides to use him.
After Blandi’s goal, Pablo Ledesma had to leave the field with an injury and was replaced by Guillermo Fernández. The hosts also suffered the injury of Franco Sosa in the 51st. Emiliano Albín took his place.
Boca were the best side during the whole match and they may feel a little disappointed as they failed to win by more than 1-0.
Referee Ricardo Marques of Brazil did not award Barcelona a clear penalty in the 80th that would have changed the match.
After the game, there were fireworks to celebrate Boca’s 108th birthday. The official celebration was suspended due to the torrential rainstorm on Tuesday.
In Group Eight, Huachipato of Chile thrashed Caracas in Venezuela 4-0 and reached the top of the standings to share it with Fluminense of Brazil.
Also, Tijuana of Mexico qualified for the next round after drawing 1-1 with San José in La Paz, Bolivia, in Group Five.
LUIS FABIANO LOSES APPEAL. São Paulo’s Brazil striker Luis Fabiano has lost his appeal against a four-match suspension for insulting the referee at the end of a Libertadores Cup match last month.
The former Sevilla striker was shown a red card after insulting Colombian referee Wilmar Roldán at the end of São Paulo’s 1-1 draw at home to Argentina’s Arsenal de Sarandí in a Group Three match on March 7.
“The suspension of four matches is confirmed and a fine of 5,000 dollars for insulting the match referee, Roldán, at the end of match,” South American soccer’s governing body Conmebol said on its website.
São Paulo face Bolivia’s The Strongest in La Paz today.
Herald staff with agencies