Fluminense Champion beats Cerro Porteño and qualifies for the second round of Libertadores

Fluminense Champion beats Cerro Porteño and qualifies for the second round of Libertadores
Fluminense Champion beats Cerro Porteño and qualifies for the second round of Libertadores

BOGOTÁ (AP) — The champion took the first relevant step in the defense of his crown.

Fluminense remained undefeated by beating Cerro Porteño 2-1 on Thursday and qualified for the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores.

The Rio team secured the lead in Group A with 11 points. Second place will be disputed between Cerro Porteño, which was tied with Colo Colo with five units. Alianza Lima closes the zone with four.

“The team played a good game. We managed to circulate the ball and reach it on the wings. “We were fair winners,” commented the “Tricolor” coach, Fernando Diniz. “At this point, we are better than in last year’s Libertadores. “We classified first.”

At the Maracaná stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Fluminense came out to impose conditions and took the lead after 14 minutes with a powerful right hand to Marcelo’s squad.

The historic Brazilian full-back, who won 25 titles in 16 seasons with Real Madrid, got his first shout out in the Libertadores.

Cerro Porteño responded quickly and equalized at 19 through Wilder Viera.

After an even stretch and with options for both teams, the balance definitively tipped in favor of the locals in the 70th minute with the expulsion of Paraguayan Javier Báez for a double warning.

Four minutes later, Paulo Henrique Ganso — who had caused the foul that led to the opponent’s red card — scored the final score with a header after a cross from Guga.

BOTAFOGO ADVANCES AND PUSHES JUNIORA goal from Jeffinho in the 77th minute allowed Botafogo to beat Universitario 1-0 in Lima and ensure their presence in the next phase.

With this result, the Brazilian team tied Junior at the top of Group D, who advanced without playing. Both, with nine points, are unattainable for Universitario (5) and Liga de Quito (4), who will clash for third place that gives access to the Copa Sudamericana playoff.

Botafogo will return to the Libertadores knockout rounds after seven years, while Junior will do so for the first time since 2011.

OTHER PARTIESIn Group G, Rosario Central kept its qualification chances alive by beating bottom-placed Caracas 4-1.

A double from forward Agustín Módica led “Canalla”, which reached seven points, two less than Peñarol, with which it will define second place on the last date. The leader Atlético Mineiro, with 12, is already classified.

Maximiliano Lovera, who opened the scoring in the first half, and Francesco Lo Celso in added time completed the victory for Rosario Central.

Ender Echenique scored the only goal for Caracas, which with 15 goals against is the team with the most goals in the group stage.

In a vibrant match, San Lorenzo achieved an agonizing 3-2 victory over Liverpool in Buenos Aires.

The “Ciclón” consolidated its position in second position in Group F with seven points and depends on itself to progress. Liverpool and Independiente del Valle close the area with four units.

Gastón Campi gave San Lorenzo the victory with a header from a corner in the 87th minute.

Before the definition, the Argentine team was ahead twice with the scores of Iván Leguizamón and Alexis Cuello.

Liverpool had managed to tie on two occasions through Diego García and Luciano Rodríguez.

In Group B, Sao Paulo did not go beyond a 0-0 draw against Barcelona.

The Paulistas, classified since the previous date, reached 10 points and were behind the leader Talleres, which has 13.

With the advancement of Fluminense, Botafogo and Junior, the group stage already has 10 teams classified with one date left. Before, Talleres, Sao Paulo, The Strongest, Palmeiras, Atlético Mineiro, River Plate and Nacional had won their ticket.

The six teams that will complete the round of 16 draw will be known on the last day, which will be held between May 28 and 30.

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