Ruben Botta and Matias Perez Garcia both scored twice as Tigre won a goal-fest with Libertad 5-3 in the Copa Libertadores.
Tigre’s victory took the Argentine club into the knockout stages of South America’s premier continental club competition, while the 1-1 draw between Huachipato and Gremio ended in a brawl involving both sides and riot police.
At Libertad’s Estadio Dr. Nicolas Leoz, Botta opened the scoring for Tigre in the 11th minute with a stunning long-range strike but the hosts were level three minutes later thanks to Miguel Samudio’s smart finish.
Perez Garcia’s first-time strike from Ezequiel Maggiolo’s lay-off put Tigre back in front in the 29th minute before Angel Diaz’s penalty made it 3-1, while Libertad’s Ismael Benegas was shown a straight red card between those two goals.
But the Paraguayans drew within a goal of Tigre when Ariel Nunez thumped his 38th-minute strike into the top corner of the net.
A swift counterattack 10 minutes into the second half saw Tigre move 4-2 ahead when Perez Garcia tapped in after Libertad goalkeeper Rodrigo Munoz had made an initial save from Botta’s shot.
Botta wrapped up his brace in the 78th minute when he collected Perez Garcia’s cross and while Libertad scored in stoppage time through Pablo Velazquez, Tigre held on for the win.
Thursday’s victory was Tigre’s second in a row in the Copa Libertadores and took them above Libertad into second position in Group 2 to qualify behind Palmeiras for the knockout stages.
Palmeiras lost 1-0 away to Peru’s Sporting Cristal in the other Group 2 clash.
In Chile, Huachipato’s Miguel Aceval scored an 89th-minute equaliser but the home side were unable to find a winning goal against Gremio to miss out on a top-two finish in Group 8.
Gremio, who took the lead in the first half through Ze Roberto, claimed second place ahead of Huachipato on goal difference.
After the final whistle, Huachipato’s players did not appreciate the behaviour of Gremio coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo and a brawl broke out, which continued down the tunnel with Chilean riot police involved.
Fellow Brazilian club Fluminense joined Gremio in advancing from Group 8 after a 1-0 victory over Venezuela’s Caracas.
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