A headed goal from Uruguayan striker Juan Salgueiro was enough for Estudiantes of Argentina to beat Bolivia’s Universitario de Sucre 1-0 in Thursday’s action in the Copa Libertadores.
After losing their opening game, the home win moved Estudiantes into second place in Group 5, a point behind leaders Cruzeiro.
Estudiantes were always in control and Marco Angeleri’s raids down the right flank caused Universitario problems early on, but the only goal was contentious.
Leandro Benitez’s free-kick in the 17th minute was headed into the path of Gaston Fernandez, who appeared to be offside. Fernandez hit the post with his shot, but Salgueiro followed up to head home, as Universitario protested.
The visitors offered very little in attack, with Luis Sillero a lonely figure up front. Martin Aguirre was sent off in the 78th minute for a second bookable offense to bury any hopes the visitors had of rescuing a point.
Meanwhile, Paraguayan club Libertad also claimed a 1-0 victory, beating Mexican hosts San Luis with a goal from Luis Ramirez.
With wins from both their games, Libertad sits three points clear atop Group 8, while pointless San Luis are last.
Libertad got their tactics just right, scoring an early goal and then absorbing the home side’s pressure to hold out despite playing with 10 men for the last 15 minutes. San Luis lacked ideas to break down the Paraguayan champions.
Israel Martinez should have put San Luis ahead in the ninth minute after surging onto a Tressor Moreno through-ball, but shot high.
The miss was to prove costly. After 15 minutes, Libertad’s Colombian playmaker Vladimir Marin took a free-kick on the right flank that San Luis midfielder Egidio Arevalo could only flick on. Peruvian midfielder Ramirez found himself in space inside the box and side-footed home for what proved the winner.
Libertad sat back after taking the lead and San Luis toiled without success and could not break down the opposition’s defensive wall.
Libertad’s Victor Caceres was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on midfielder Jesus Palacios in the 76th minute, but San Luis couldn’t make the numerical advantage pay.