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América, Boca, São Paulo advance in Libertadores

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 8 May 2008

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Club América produced the most stunning result thus far in the Copa Libertadores, overcoming a 4-2 first-leg deficit to eliminate Flamengo at the Maracanã 5-4 on aggregate in the Round of 16 on Wednesday night. Boca Juniors and São Paulo also joined Atlas, LDU Quito, and Fluminense in the quarterfinals.

Flamengo 0-3 América
América advance 5-4 on aggregate
The Mexican powers were dealt a difficult 4-2 loss in Mexico City a week earlier, but never lost hope. It showed on 20 minutes when Paraguay forward Salvador Cabañas put one past goalkeeper Bruno, and matters got worse six minutes before the halftime interval as Enrique Esqueda delivered a big goal.

Cabañas then delivered the dagger to the home side in the 78th minute, beautifully drilling home a free kick that left Bruno no shot, and his side held out for a thrilling victory and unlikely passage into the last eight of the Libertadores.

The match was Joel Santana’s last as manager of Flamengo before he takes over the reigns for South Africa.

Cruzeiro 1-2 Boca Juniors
Boca Juniors advance 4-2 on aggregate
Meanwhile, in Belo Horizonte, another Brazilian team bit the dust, but this in less-than-shocking fashion as Boca Juniors scored two first-half goals and never looked back in their victory over Cruzeiro.

Rodrigo Palacio and Martín Palermo scored within seven first-half minutes of each other to open up a 4-1 aggregate lead on the home side, and despite the valiant cheering of the loyal Cruzeiro supporters, all the home side could muster was a consolation goal by Wagner in the 57th minute.

São Paulo 2-0 Nacional
São Paulo advance 2-0 on aggregate
Three-time winners São Paulo kept it from being a clean sweep of the Brazilian sides on Wednesday night, closing out a victory over 10-man Nacional of Uruguay.

After a goalless draw in the first leg in Montevideo, Adriano broke open the scoring at the Morumbi on 37 minutes, a lead that they took into halftime. Shortly after the restart, Pablo Caballero put Nacional at a greater disadvantage when he picked up his second booking of the match.

The home side kept on the pressure and got rewarded late on when Dagoberto provided insurance to extend the winning margin to 2-0.

TUESDAY’S MATCHES

Fluminense 1-0 Atlético Nacional
Fluminense advance 3-1 on aggregate
Knockout round top seed Fluminense held serve at home to expand upon their away victory last week in Colombia, earning a victory thanks to a solitary strike by Roger on a header in the 52nd minute.

Fluminense get São Paulo in the next round in a tie that will pique interest in Brazil.

Atlas 2-2 Lanús
Atlas advance 3-2 on aggregate
A second Mexican team is also in the last eight as Atlas rode goals from Bruno Marioni and Ulises Mendivil to a narrow aggregate victory over Lanús.

Marioni opened up the scoring on the half-hour mark for Atlas, but the Argentine visitors pegged back through José San in the 64th minute. Mendivil, though, came to the rescue in the 78th minute, on a pass from previous goalscorer Marioni. Lanús tried to fight back into the tie with a last-gasp goal from Lautaro Acosta, but it was too little too late.

Estudiantes La Plata 2-1 LDU Quito
LDU Quito advance 3-2 on aggregate
Ecuadorian side Liga Deportiva Universitaria de Quito took a loss in Argentina to Estudiantes, but used a home victory in the first leg to take down their opponents on aggregate.

Luis Bolaños opened the scoring for LDU Quito in the 25th minute, putting them up 3-0 on aggregate, but Estudiantes made a valiant comeback, starting with Luis Alayes’ goal in the 42nd minute and another 23 minutes later from Ezequiel Maggiolo. It would be as close as the home side would get to advancing.

Thursday’s matches
River Plate – San Lorenzo (San Lorenzo lead 2-1 on aggregate)
Deportivo Cúcuta – Santos (Santos lead 2-0 on aggregate)

Quarterfinal matchups
Fluminense – São Paulo
Boca Juniors – Atlas
LDU Quito – River Plate/San Lorenzo winner
Cúcuta/Santos winner – América

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