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Easy win for Boca

Buenos Aires, 17th February 2008

Boca Juniors eased to a 4-0 win over Argentinos Juniors in the second round of the Torneo Clausura tournament.  Having struggled to a 1-1 draw at Rosario Central in their opening match, Boca were out to impress the faithful in their first game at La Bombonera and had no problems delivering the goods.  The scoring began midway through the first half, when Argentinos goalkeeper Juan Carrera fumbled a shot from Hugo Ibarra, allowing Palermo to pounce on the re-bound to give Boca the lead.  Boca added a second soon after the break when Palacio netted from an impressive through ball from former Barcelona man Riquelme.  Jesus Datolo netted the third on 82 minutes, and Leandro Gracian rounded off the scoring from the penalty spot in injury time, after Argentions defender Sergio Escudero was dismissed for the tackle which lead to the spot kick.  Boca begin their Copa Libertadores campaign this week with a trip to Venezuelan side UA Maracaibo.  Meanwhile arch rivals River Plate could only manage a goalless draw at Newell's Old Boys, with manager Diego Simeone having seen his team lose out to Peruvian side San Martin earlier in the week.  Elsewhere, last years's Apertura winners Lanus continued their disappointing start to 2008, going down 1-0 against Huracan.  Indepediente followed in Boca's footsteps by putting four past recently promoted Tigre, the final score was 4-1.  The surprise package so far comes from new boys San Martin who managed a surprise 1-0 win over San Lorenzo, while Estudiantes LP beat Gimnasia Jujuy by two goals to nil, and Velez Sarsfield beat Olimpo with the same scoreline.

River stunned by Peruvian minnows

Lima, 15th February 2008


The 2008 Copa Libertadores group stage is now well under way, with teams from across South America going head-to-head in the continent's premier football tournament.  Earlier in the week, the opening two matches both brought surprise results, with Venezuelan minnows Caracas pulling off a shock 2-0 win over San Lorenzo, and Deportivo Cuenca of Ecuador getting their campaign off to a winning start, also over Argentinian opposition in Estudiantes.  However the real shock of the week was still to come, when relative outsiders Universided San Martin faced Argentinian giants River Plate in Lima.  Very few would have predicted anything other than a comfortable win for the side from Buenos Aires, and it certainly came as a huge shock when Roberto Olvar fired the home side into an early lead on 15 minutes.  The stars of River Plate were no match on the night for the triumphant Peruvians, and as if to rub salt into the wound, Jose Diaz scored in the last minute of the match to give his team, formed only three years ago and appearing for the first time in the Libertadores, a famous victory.  The opening matches of this years tournament have certainly not been kind to Argentina's representatives this year, with the exception of 2007 Apertura winners Lanus, who enjoyed a 3-1 victory over Uruguayan side Danubio.  Meanwhile, Cruzeiro saw off Real Potosi by three goals to nil in what would prove to be a very successful week for Brazil's contenders.  Both Flamengo and Santos picked up respectable draws away from home, against Coronel Bolognesi and Cucuta Deportivo respectively.  Cienciano rounded off an exciting first week with a 2-1 win over Nacional, their second win over Uruguayan opposition so far this season, having defeated Montevideo Wanderers in the first round of the competition.

Caracas stun San Lorenzo
 
Caracas, 13th February 2008
 
Venezuelan outfit Caracas FC pulled off a shock 2-0 win over San Lorenzo in the opening round of the Copa Libertadores group stage.  Ronald Vargas gave Caracas the lead midway through the first half with a stunning left-footed effore from outside the box.  Rafael Castellin picked up on a loose ball from a corner to make it 2-0 to the home side, and both teams finished the match with only 10 men, Cristian Tula of San Lorenzo and Juan Manuel Torres of Caracas both seeing red.  Meanwhile in Group 2, Mauricio Ferradas' strike was enough to secure a 1-0 win for Ecuadorian side Deportivo Cuenca over Estudiantes.  Audax Italiano became the last team to qualify for the group stages as they beat Colombia's Boyoca Chico in dramatic style.  Trailing 4-3 from the first leg, a 1-0 win for Audax was enough to secure a place in the group stages on away goals.  They will join the likes of Sao Paulo and Atletico Nacional in group 7.
 
Asilant fires newcomers to the top

Caracas, 10th February 2008

Atlético El Vigía are the surprise package so far this season in Venezuela, with a strike from Asilant giving the newly-promoted side their third win of the season and firing them straight to the top of the table.  Valderrama netted two for home side Portguesa, but his efforts were soon cancelled out and El Vigía eventually came out 3-2 winners at the Estadio General José Antonio Paez. Only time will tell if the side from Estadio Ramón Hernández can cling on to top spot.  Deportivo Táchira and Caracas FC also maintained their unbeaten start to the season, staying hot on the heels of the new boys.  An early strike from Javier Villafráz was enough to secure an away win for Táchira over Monagas, while a goal from Beraza six minutes before time was only a consolation for UA Maracaibo as they succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at home to Caracas.


Monsalvo clinches win for Envigado

Bogota, 10th February 2008

A second-half strike from Charles Monsalvo ensured Envigado took all three points from their home match against Cúcuta, their second win from two games so far this season.  The visitors had taken an early lead through Banguero before Palomino managed to pull one back for Envigado on 33 minutes.  The sizable crowd gathered at the small Polideportivo Sur stadium will be delighted with the start their team have made to the 2008 season.  Independiente Medellin, Santa Fe and Atletico Bucaramanga all enjoyed their second wins of the season, over Deportes Pereira, America and Junior respectively.  Meanwhile, Once Caldas picked up their first points of the season, Johan Fano getting the only goal well inside injury time at the end of their match at home to Nacional.
 


Unión Española remain unbeaten


Santiago, 10th February 2008

Unión Española extended their unbeaten run so far this season as the third round of the Chilean Apertura brought few surprises.  A late winner from Peralta ensured Unión Española took away all three points from their away match at Universidad Católica.  The visitors took the lead on the half-hour mark through Caceres before the home side drew level shortly before half-time.  But Peralta's strike on 81 minutes made in nine points from nine so far this season for the Santiago side.  Elsewhere, O'Higgins picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Cobreloa in Calama, Felipe Flores getting the winner after 52 minutes.  Santiago giants Colo Colo suffered a surprise defeat at Palestino, Ubeda getting the only goal of the match midway through the first half.  At the other end of the table, newcomers Deportivo Melipilla suffered their third defeat of the season at home to La Serena.

Boskamp close in as Eagles slip up


Paramaibo, 10th February 2008

As the Surinamese football season hits the half way mark, it's looking to be one of the closest fought title races of recent years, with more than half of the 12 teams still in with a realistic chance of clinching the silverware.  Top side Super Red Eagles suffered a disappointing defeat at the hands of Voorwaarts, but cling on to their spot at the top of the table.  Further still their lead at the top has been cut to just one point, as second placed Boskamp played out a goalless draw with Robinhood, keeping both sides within touching distance of the top.  It's been a miserable season so far for bottom side Randjiet Boys, with only one win and a mere 6 points from their 12 games so far.  On a more positive note, this weekend saw Randjiet pull off a respectable 1-1 draw against Transvaal and will be looking to build on that result next week, while Super Red Eagles will be looking to extend their lead at the top.


         

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