Arsenal de Sarandi are through to the quarterfinals of the 2011 Copa Sudamericana in dramatic fashion, thanks to a fantastic comeback win over Paraguayan side Olimpia. The Paraguayan national team and some of the country's club sides have been known for pragmatic and defensive football in recent years, but Olimpia are the most attacking side in the country and showed it on Wednesday night, engaging their opponents in a wide-open match after drawing the first leg of this tie 0-0. Young Gustavo Blanco Leschuk found the winner late, and the Argentinians will advance to the next round.
Arsenal got off to an absolutely terrific start, scoring two early goals to go up 2-0. Cristian Trombetta finished off a chance in the 15th minute, then Emilio Zelaya doubled his team's lead with a headed goal on a set piece in the 19th minute. Both goals were assisted by 34-year-old veteran Adrián González, who had a wonderful game.
They got sloppy, though, and began to commit fouls around their own penalty area. Pablo Zeballos made them pay, first with a direct free kick in the 34th minute, then with a close-range goal in the 42nd minute. The Paraguayan Primera Division star has been linked to moves abroad in recent months, and it's easy to see why he has potential suitors in Europe.
Unsurprisingly, Olimpia played a slightly more conservative game in the second half with a lead on away goals. It appeared as if they were going to scrape by with a massive away scoring draw, but 19-year-old Gustavo Blanco Leschuk sunk their hopes with a headed goal on a set piece in the 85ht minute, assisted by - guess who - Adrian Gonzalez.
Olimpia pushed hard for an equalizer and things got especially interesting when Nicolás Aguirre was sent off for picking up a second yellow card just seconds after the goal, but Arsenal held on for the win. They will now face the winner of the Universidad de Chile-Flamengo tie. The first leg of that tie is being played Wednesday night.