Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting set up a qualification showdown with Independiente Medellin of Colombia after holding on for a scoreless draw with America de Cali on Thursday in Group Four of the Copa Libertadores.
Defensor had a man sent off after 79 minutes against the Colombian side, but claimed a point to move within two of Medellin, with the clubs scheduled to play each other in the group’s final fixtures.
Meanwhile, Deportivo Tachira of Venezuela came from behind to beat Paraguay’s Guarani 2-1 and take a big step toward qualification from Group Two. Boyaca Chico of Colombia won by the same score at home against Bolivia’s Aurora to move into second place in Group Seven.
America needed to beat Defensor in Cali, Colombia to stay in the hunt for qualification, but lacked the cutting edge necessary to unlock the Uruguayan’s defense.
Guarani also needed a win to preserve their faint chance of qualification from Group Two and took the lead against Deportivo Tachira in Venezuela.
Julian Benitez turned on the ball on the edge of the box before firing a powerful shot past Manuel Sanhouse after 18 minutes to give the visitors the lead. Medellin struggled to create clear chances despite turning up the pressure after the break.
Substitute Yhonatan Del Valle provided the answer however, skipping over a challenge before unleashing a shot from 30m to equalize in the 68th minute.
Marlon Fernandez gathered a ball only half cleared by the Guarani defense and his shot was deflected twice on the way past Joel Silva for the winner in the 74th minute.