Pictured: The Copa Sudamericana trophy. LDU Quito and Universidad de Chile will be fighting for that trophy as they face off in the first leg of the 2011 Copa Sudamericana Final on Thursday, December 8, 2011.

Copa Sudamericana Final 2011, LDU Quito Vs. Universidad De Chile: Eduardo Vargas Gives La U 1-0 Win

A first half goal by Eduardo Vargas gave Universidad de Chile a 1-0 win over LDU Quito in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final.

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Copa Sudamericana Final 2011, LDU Quito Vs. Universidad De Chile: Full Time, La U Clinch Massive Road Win

It's a long road back to get into the Copa Sudamericana Final for LDU Quito. Universidad de Chile, arguably the top team in all of South America at the moment for their league and continental form, will be taking a lead home to Santiago. Thanks to a first half goal by Eduardo Vargas, La U clinched a 1-0 win in Quito and will now be a massive favorite heading into the second leg.

The massive turning point in the match came at the end of the second half. The game was very even, perhaps slightly favoring Liga when Hernan Barcos missed an absolute sitter in the 42nd minute, skying a shot on a brilliant cross over the bar in front of an empty net.

La U took advantage instantly, scoring a goal less than a minute later. Albert Acevedo started the move by winning a header and Charles Aranguiz provided the assist, slotting a great through ball towards the edge of the penalty box for Vargas to run onto. Liga keeper Alexander Domínguez Carabalí came out for the ball, but Vargas rounded him easily and tapped the ball into the back of the net to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Down a goal, Liga took a risk, bringing on Luís Bolaños at halftime. Though Barcos has scored 23 goals this season, Bolaños is arguably their best player. He suffered a serious knee injury earlier in the season and was thought to be done until late January or early February, but got fit enough to make the bench and enter the match.

He was brilliant in the opening minutes, starting attacks with dribbling moves and drawing a couple of yellow cards, but Jorge Sampaoli's substitutions made things difficult for Liga late as La U held onto their lead. So successful was La U at holding onto their lead that the highlight of the last 10 minutes was a pitch invader running onto the pitch and Tebowing - dropping to one knee, putting his hand on his chin and praying like gridiron player Tim Tebow - before he was escorted out of the stadium.

Liga created 18 shots, but most of them came from long range. Johnny Herrera only looked bothered on a couple of occasions, though the home side did miss a couple of solid chances. Their finishing was poor on the night, and they'll need something special in Santiago to lift the trophy. After 90 minutes, Sampaoli's boys have one hand on the cup.

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Copa Sudamericana Final 2011, LDU Quito Vs. Universidad De Chile Live: Halftime Score, La U Lead After Late Goal

The first 40 minutes were dead even in the Copa Sudamericana final, but Universidad de Chile nicked a late goal to go ahead 1-0 on LDU Quito just before the halftime whistle. The pace has been fast and the play has been extremely physical, and until just before the end of the half, the final ball had been lacking while both goalkeepers had been excellent. La U playmaker Charles Aranguiz and Liga goalkeeper Alexander Domínguez Carabalí changed that in the 43rd minute.

La U should have had a penalty in the first five minutes. Gustavo Canales was hauled down in the box in the fifth minute by Norberto Araujo, but the referee didn't give a penalty. This would set the tone for the rest of the half, where the referee let the teams played and called very few fouls. The officiating has perhaps been poor, but it has been very consistent and has not favored either side.

Liga had a fantastic chance to take the lead in the 42nd minute, when Lucas Acosta played a fantastic cross from the right side to the back post for Hernan Barcos. The Argentinian striker has been in stellar scoring form, but despite the fact that he had the ball fall onto his foot perfectly, he completely shanked his shot. Johnny Herrera was nowhere to be found on the cross and he had the net at his mercy. Simply put, it was a sitter.

It took less than a minute for Universidad de Chile to hit back. The final pass had been seriously lacking for La U for most of the half, but Aranguiz finally provided one for Eduardo Vargas to run onto in the 43rd minute. Carabali came out too soon and Vargas easily dribbled around him, then tapped the ball into the back of the net to give his team the lead.

Liga are going to struggle to get a result away in Santiago. If they want to keep this final interesting, they will need to not only score, but score twice and take a lead to Chile for the second leg.

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