1-0: Velez’s minimum advantage against Barcelona

Velez Sarsfield won this Wednesday 1-0 against the Barcelona of Guayaquil in the match valid for the first leg of the round of 16 of the Cup
Liberators from America.

A solitary goal by Juan Martín Lucero in the 7th minute of the game earned the Argentine team a home win in the match played at the José Amalfitani stadium in Buenos Aires, known as ‘El Fortín de Liniers’.

In the first half, and while both teams were still studying each other, a combination by Vélez’s right side ended with a center from Tomás Guidara who found an accurate header from Juan Martín Lucero, who changed the stick to Javier Burrai.

Through that goal, Barcelona had to change its script and began to depend a lot on the generation of the game by its leader: Damián Díaz. Fabián Bustos’ team, the great surprise of the group stage of this tournament, could not accurately assist their striker and scorer Carlos Garcés, who was very isolated. For their part, Mauricio Pellegrino’s men, through Ricardo Centurión’s individual ability and Juan Martín Lucero’s great wear and tear in attack, were able to dominate the times of an intense match.

The visiting team over-appealed to air centers, where mainly defender Lautaro Gianetti exhibited his great capacity for header rejections.

At the beginning of the second half, the one who appeared showing strength and solving Barcelona’s attacks was goalkeeper Lucas Hoyos, who was firm to keep his fence undefeated. The replacement of players inclined a Barcelona with a greater offensive presence that translated into a greater verticality, but without being able to string together many options to reach the tie.

Vélez, through the strategy of his coach Pellegrino, distributed the spare parts in the last minutes to keep his midfield fresh and to be able to contain the rival’s attempts. On a counterattack he tried to increase the advantage but also failed to bring danger to Burrai’s goal and the match ended with Velez’s minimal victory at home.

The return match will be on July 21 in Guayaquil and the winner of this tie will face the winner of the cross between Cerro Porteño and Fluminense in the quarterfinals, which yesterday in the first leg registered a controversial Brazilian victory as a visitor by 0-2 in Asuncion.

1 – Velez Sarsfield: Lucas Hoyos; Tomás Guidara, Matías de los Santos, Lautaro Gianetti and Miguel Brizuela; Santiago Cáseres and Federico Mancuello (m.91, Gerónimo Poblete); Ricardo Centurión (m.77, Lucas Orellano), Lucas Janson (m.83, Cristian Tarragona) and Agustín Bouzat; Juan Martín Lucero (m.91, Nicolás Garayalde).

Coach: Mauricio Pellegrino

0 – Barcelona from Guayaquil: Javier Burrai; Byron Castillo, Luis Fernando León, Williams Riveros and Mario Pineida; Leandro Martínez (m 68, Adonis Preciado), Nixon Molina (m.79, Michael Carcelén), Bruno Piñatares (m.79, Matías Oyola), Leonel Quiñónez (m.68, Jonathan Perlaza); Damián Díaz and Carlos Garcés (m.82, Gonzalo Mastriani).

Coach: Fabián Bustos

Goal: 1-0, Juan Martín Lucero (m. 7)

Referee: Brazilian Raphael Claus admonished Guidara, Lucero, Garcés, Piñatares, León and Oyola.

Incidents: first leg of the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores played at the José Amalfitani stadium in Buenos Aires.