Copa Libertadores: Independiente Take Three Points From Peñarol To Top Group 8

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Independiente Vs. Peñarol: 3-0 Full Time, Diablo Rojo Capture Three Points

Independiente sealed a vital three points in their Copa Libertadores match Thursday night, defeating Peñarol 3-0 to go top of Group 8, ahead of fellow Argentinian side Godoy Cruz on goal differential. It was a much needed victory for a team that had a poor Apertura and who has gotten off to a less than ideal start in the Clausura. Facundo Parra and Cristian Pellerano scored spectacular second half goals to put the game away after 70 minute and substitute Néstor Silvera added an insurance goal in the 85th.

This performance will be a welcome site for Independiente fans, who have seen their team under-perform in the last year outside of their run in Copa Sudamericana. They finished dead last in the Apertura and barely squeaked into the Libertadores, defeating Deportivo Quito on away goals when they were outplayed for a majority of the 180 minutes of that tie. They haven't gotten off to a good start in the Clausura, either, so being top of Group 8 will be a nice treat for the supporters of the Diablo Rojo.

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Independiente Vs. Peñarol: Cristian Pellerano Stunner Should Put The Game Beyond Doubt

Peñarol had a decent flurry of chances on goal after Independiente scored to start the second half, forcing Hilario Navarro into a number of good saves, but they failed to get on the score sheet before Cristian Pellerano scored an absolute golazo that will likely put this Copa Libertadores match to bed. With a 2-0 lead gained with two absolutely stunning goals, Independiente seem unlikely to throw this game away and should be coming away from the match with three well-earned points.

The goal came off of a corner kick, but hardly in a conventional way. Following the corner and one blocked shot, the ball bounced out to Pellerano, who was in the center of the pitch, about 30 yards from goal. He unleashed a hard, low drive towards the post at his left, and his shot sailed through a cluster of traffic to hit the back of the net so hard, it bounced five yards out. 

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Independiente Vs. Peñarol: Facundo Parra Goal Puts Diablo Rojo Ahead

Independiente lacked the final touch to create great goal scoring opportunities in the first half of their Copa Libertadores match against Peñarol, but they have looked like a completely different team coming out of the gate in the second half. Facundo Parra has scored a goal just two minutes after the start of the half to put Independiente ahead, but while his finish was great, the goal was a complete team effort, made by some great exchanges of one touch passing. It was obviously the kind of thing that only a team with skilled players who had played together before could produce, making everyone wonder, "Where was that in the first half?" 

The entire Independiente midfield and forward line was involved in making the goal, exchanging a number of passes between them before Parra played a one touch pass out to the left flank. The ball was promptly returned to him with a cross, and yet again, with his first touch, Parra did exactly what he intended with the ball, redirecting it into the back of the net to give his team a 1-0 lead.

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Independiente Vs. Peñarol: 0-0 Halftime, Both Sides Defending Well

Independiente and Peñarol are scoreless after 45 minutes in their Copa Libertadores match, but it's not for poor play or a lack of ambition. Both teams are defending very well and not allowing their opponents to create any clear cut chances. The central defenders for both sides are playing great games, with youngster Leonel Galeano being particularly impressive for Independiente.

The hosts have been the more ambitious and more dangerous of the two teams, but they have not been able to turn their possession or balls into the penalty area into goals. Matias De Federico has been slightly disappointing, while Facundo Parra has been impressive holding up the ball for his teammates. Another Independiente youngster, Patricio Rodriguez, is looking dangerous and Peñarol's defenders have taken to playing him very aggressively, causing him to draw a few fouls.

Independiente will be the more disappointed of the two sides with a draw, so look for them to be more aggressive in the second half. Nestor Silvera is probably the best attacking option on their bench, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him introduced before the 60th minute.

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Estudiantes La Plata Vs. Deportes Tolima: 1-0 Full Time, An Exciting Second Half Somehow Produces No Goals

Estudiantes La Plata and Deportes Tolima put on a show in the second half of their Copa Libertadores match, but somehow, both teams failed to hit the back of the net despite a variety of chances. Both teams hit the woodwork twice in the second half and both goalkeepers were forced into some great saves, and the match very easily could have ended with four or five goals. Instead, Estudiantes held on to their 1-0 halftime lead to secure three points that they desperately needed.

The goal came at the end of the first half from Pablo Barrientos, whose 45th minute direct free kick took a deflection off the Tolima wall before going into the back of the net. Besides that free kick, the Estudiantes forwards looked fairly dangerous, while Juan Sebastian Veron looked dangerous. Estudiantes now look forward to three winnable games both domestically and in Copa Libertadores. Their next two Clausura matches are against Banfield and Gimnasia La Plata, and their next Copa Libertadores match is against Guarani.

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Estudiantes La Plata Vs. Deportes Tolima: 1-0 Halftime, Direct Free Kick Gives Hosts A Deserved Lead

It's been a decent, though unspectacular first half for Estudiantes La Plata in their Copa Libertadores match against Deportes Tolima, as they attempt to bounce back from the 5-0 drubbing they suffered at the hands of Cruzeiro a week ago. They look considerably more focused and determined in defense in this game than they did last week, and that has led to them keeping a clean sheet thus far and taking a 1-0 lead into halftime. 

The goal came in the 45th minute, just before the teams went into their locker rooms for the break. Pablo Barrientos is the man who scored, with his goal coming on a direct free kick, between 20 and 25 yards away from goal. Barrientos hit a decent shot that looked like it was spinning towards the near post, but it took a deflection off of the head of a member of the Deportes Tolima wall. That deflection re-directed the ball to the far post, giving Tolima goalkeeper Agustin Orion no chance to make a save.

Unsurprisingly, winger Enzo Perez has been Estudiantes' best player and it wouldn't be surprising to see him be part of a goal in the second half.

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Copa Libertadores: Estudiantes La Plata Try To Recover, Internacional Host Jaguares De Chiapas

After suffering a bad 5-0 defeat against Cruzeiro in the first round of Copa Libertadores fixtures, Estudiantes La Plata will have to pick themselves up quickly if they want to qualify for the competition's knockout stages. Their 1-0 win over lowly Quilmes over the weekend is hardly an indicator of either strength or weakness, but we may learn a little bit more on Wednesday night. They host a decent Deportes Tolima side who have defeated Corinthians and Guarani up to this point. With their talent, Estudiantes will be favored at home, but their effort last week against Cruzeiro was extremely discouraging.

Later on in the evening, a couple of Brazilian sides take center stage. Fluminense have a tricky match against Nacional of Uruguay, while defending champions Internacional face a Jaguares de Chiapas side that won their opening match against Jorge Wilstermann, yet has been struggling domestically. Both sides will be desperate for three points after they had deserved victories snatched away from them in the first set of fixtures.

Thursday night also has two very intriguing fixtures, with Argentinos Juniors hosting Club America and Independiente hosting Peñarol.

Copa Libertadores Wednesday and Thursday Schedule:

Leon de Huanuco vs. Oriente Petrolero: 1-0, full time

Estudiantes La Plata vs. Deportes Tolima: 5:30 pm ET, Wednesday

Fluminense vs. Nacional: 7:50 pm ET, Wednesday

Internacional vs. Jaguares de Chiapas: 7:50 pm ET, Wednesday

Independiente vs. Peñarol: 5:15 pm ET, Thursday

Argentinos Juniors vs. Club America: 7:30 pm ET, Thursday

Junior vs. Gremio: 9:45 pm ET, Thursday

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