Vicente Sanchez and Matias Vuoso scored early in each half as Mexican club America had a 2-0 win against Nacional of Uruguay on Tuesday in the Copa Libertadores group stage.
Sanchez arrived at the back post to score in the fourth minute from Miguel Layun’s low cross and Vuoso hit the second from the edge of the area in the 49th minute to give America victory at the Azteca Stadium.
“It’s important at home to get all three points. I’m happy for the result and pleased for my teammates, who put in a lot of effort,” Vuoso said.
In other opening group fixtures on Tuesday, Paraguay’s Libertad beat Mexican club San Luis 2-1 and Velez Sarsfield of Argentina won 3-0 against Venezuela’s Caracas. Santos of Brazil were held to a scoreless draw by Deportivo Tachira in Venezuela, while Deportes Tolima of Colombia won 1-0 against Paraguayan club Guarani.
The Copa Libertadores is Latin America’s top club competition.
After six qualifying fixtures, the remaining 32 clubs are split into eight groups of four. The top two in each group qualify for the last 16, with the final scheduled for June.
The winner of the Copa Libertadores earns a place in the Club World Cup to be held in Japan in December against the other continental champions.
America’s victory over Nacional gave them an early lead in Group 3.
“We had a lot of chances to score more, but the important thing is we got the win. We are looking to win the competition and that’s what we are aiming for,” Vuoso said.
Brazil’s Fluminense host Nacional on Wednesday next week, while America travel to Argentinos Juniors a day later in the group’s next fixtures.
Meanwhile, fellow Mexican club San Luis, who reached the round-of-16 stage last year, suffered a home reverse in their opening Group 1 match against Libertad.
Nicolas Pavlovich opened the scoring for the Paraguayan club with a firm header in the 19th minute and Sergio Aquino scored the winning goal from the penalty-spot in the 56th minute after Juan Manuel Cavallo had leveled for San Luis in the 40th.
In Group 4, long-range strikes from Maxi Moralez and David Ramirez set 2004 champions Velez Sarsfield on their way to a 3-0 win over Caracas.
Luis Pena was sent off in the 12th minute for Caracas, with Moralez scoring in the 45th minute and Ramirez in the 61st.
Juan Manuel Martinez sealed the win with a penalty in the 84th minute for Velez.
In Group 7, second-half substitute Danny Santoya scored the winning goal as Deportes Tolima had a 1-0 win over Guarani.
“The match was very tight and we have to get used to that. We didn’t play well, but we won,” Santoya said.
Tolima sprung a surprise by beating Brazil’s Corinthians in the qualifying round.
Guarani will play at Cruzeiro of Brazil on Tuesday next week and Tolima will travel to Estudiantes of Argentina in the group’s next fixtures.
In Group 5, Brazil’s Santos failed to find a way past Deportivo Tachira in a scoreless draw in Venezuela.
The Brazilian club, Libertadores champion in 1962 and 1963 with Pele in their ranks, went closest to scoring when forward Neymar back-heeled to Danilo, who hit the post in the 33rd minute.