Jefferson Cuero has inspired Santa Fe to a 3-1 away win over Real Garcilaso in the Copa Libertadores quarter-final first leg.
Cuero set up Santa Fe’s second goal and scored the third to give the Colombian club a 3-0 lead after half-time in Peru.
Argentine substitute Alfredo Ramua improved Garcilaso’s chances of reaching the Copa Libertadores’ semi-finals just after Cuero’s goal, sending a stunning long-range strike past Vargas, but the Peruvian club will face a tough task of overhauling Santa Fe in the second leg next week.
Garcilaso had the better of the opening stages of Wednesday’s match, with Victor Ferreira heading just wide, before Mauricio Montes missed by a similar margin, thrashing his shot past Santa Fe’s post.
Santa Fe made the hosts pay in the 20th minute when central defender Francisco Meza side-footed Marino Garcia’s cross high into the net from close range, while three minutes later, Cuero produced a fine back-heel into the path of Wilder Medina, who finished with aplomb.
The home side were literally handed an opportunity to score in the 25th minute when Santa Fe defender Yulian Anchico used his hand to block Fabio Ramos bicycle kick.
But Ramos wasted the spot kick, blasting his shot beyond Camilo Vargas’ left-hand post.
Garcilaso continued to pepper Vargas’ goal up until half-time but it was Santa Fe who scored next, Cuero getting on the scoreboard nine minutes after the break with a shot from a tight angle.
Ramua, who had only come onto the pitch six minutes earlier, scored for Garcilaso in the 64th minute with a shot from over 30 yards but the home side were unable to manage another goal in their home leg.
In the other Copa Libertadores’ quarter-final first leg on Wednesday, Brazil’s Fluminense were held to a scoreless draw at home by Olimpia of Paraguay.