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Copa Libertadores Review: Huracan, River Plate advance to group stages

A dramatic stoppage-time goal from Diego Mendoza saw 10-man Huracan advance to the group stages of the Copa Libertadores despite going down 2-1 to Caracas on Tuesday. 

Huracan held a 1-0 lead after last week’s first leg in Argentina and travelled to Venezuela knowing just a draw would be enough to see them qualify for South America’s most prestigious club tournament. 

However, Caracas defender Rubert Quijada scored on the stroke of half-time to give the home side the lead, and Huracan’s task became even greater when Mariano Gonzalez – the hero from the first leg – was sent off with just over 15 minutes to play.

Caracas used their numerical advantage to full effect, making it 2-0 with seven minutes left on the clock thanks to Paulo Arango’s thunderous strike, but Huracan refused to give up.

A 92nd-minute header from second-half substitute Mendoza saw the Argentinian outfit level the aggregate scores at 2-2 to advance on away goals and claim a spot in Group 4 alongside Penarol, Atletico Nacional and Sporting Cristal. 

River Plate Montevideo became the first side from the qualifying round to advance to the group stages earlier in the day after holding out for a goalless draw against Universidad de Chile in Santiago. 

Leading 2-0 after the opening leg in Montevideo, the Uruguayans were never really troubled by Universidad in the return fixture. 

River will play in Group 2 of the tournament alongside Nacional, Palmeiras and Rosario Central. 

Wed 10 Feb, 2016
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