2011 Copa Libertadores: Jaguares Chiapas Earn Win While Independiente Stumble To 1-1 Tie

It's getting down to the nitty gritty in Copa Libertadores, as a whopping seven games this week feature big teams playing in games with serious qualification implications.

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Jaguares Chiapas Vs. Internacional: 1-0 Full Time, Jags Win To Survive

Jaguares Chiapas were in a virtual must-win situation going into tonight's Copa Libertadores match against Internacional, and they got exactly the result they needed, outplaying the defending champions in surprising fashion to notch a 1-0 victory and put themselves in spectacular position to qualify for the knockout round of the competition. With Emelec still to play Jorge Wilstermann, who have yet to get a point in the competition, in round five, Internacional sit on 10 points, Jaguares have nine, and Emelec have seven. 

The goal was scored by Antonio Salazar, who came on as a substitute to begin the second half to get another attacking option into the game. That move paid off when Salazar finished Jaguares' best chance, but the chance was gifted to them. In the 54th minute, Nei gave the ball away to Jorge Rodriguez, who streaked down the left and put in a low cross. Salazar got on the end of it, turned with his back to goal, and finished, giving Jaguares the only goal they needed. They close their Copa Libertadores campaign against Jorge Wilstermann, where a win should see them through to the next round.


Jaguares Chiapas Vs. Internacional: 0-0 Halftime, Jags Looking Strong

Jaguares de Chiapas have been struggling to find a solution to creating good attacking moves without their No. 9 Jackson Martinez in the side, but if the weekend's shock win over UNAM Pumas and the start of this Copa Libertadores match against Internacional are any indication, they may have finally found the solution. The score is tied up at 0-0 at halftime, but Jaguares have had the better of the play. They're utilizing a fluid 4-5-1/4-6-0 hybrid formation with Oscar Razo as a false nine, and it's allowed them to keep the ball and create chances.

The best chance of the first half came from Edgar Andrade, the hero of the big win over Pumas. He hit a magnificent strike from 25 yards away from goal in the 24th minute, striking the crossbar. Inter's back line has defended well, but the Inter midfield is being completely overrun in very surprising fashion. It's possible that, with their superior position in the group, they're just playing for a draw, but a Jaguares goal early in the second half will certainly change their philosophy and liven this game up. 


Independiente Vs. LDU Quito: 1-1 Full Time, Ecuadorians Control Their Own Destiny After Lucky Draw

Independiente knew coming into tonight's Copa Libertadores fixture knowing that only a win would do at home against LDU Quito. For a long period of time, it appeared that they were going to get that win, but an own goal changed their fortunes in a cruel twist of fate. When the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read 1-1, full time. Now, Independiente are all but out. Only a three goal win over Peñarol combined with a draw between LDU Quito and Godoy Cruz in the final round can save them. As he walked off the field, Independiente manager Antonio Mohamed looked like more than just a defeated man - he looked like a man who knew he was about to lose his job.

Independiente were the better team throughout the match and it looked like their 23rd minute penalty kick would be enough to seal the victory, even if they should have scored more than once, but an own goal that some outlets are still crediting to LDU Quito striker Hernan Barcos tied the score at 1-1. Independiente had plenty of chances to win, including a couple of shots that hit the woodwork, but in the end they were unable to score. They now need a miracle to qualify, and Mohamed may need a miracle to keep his job for an extended period of time.


Independiente Vs. LDU Quito: Bad Own Goal Gives LDU An Equalizer

If Independiente were going to go down in Copa Libertadores, like anyone else, they probably wanted to go out because they were outplayed. If the result stays as it currently stands, that won't be the case for them. LDU Quito are now level not because of a good piece of attacking football or a well-executed set piece, but because of a terrible own goal that featured the perfect combination of poor awareness and bad luck on the part of the Independiente defense.

For now, the 57th minute tally is being credited to LDU Quito striker Hernan Barcos, but he looked almost ashamed to celebrate as the ball skidded past Fabian Assmann into the back of the net, off the foot of who appeared to be Independiente defender Leonel Galeano. Of course, with their current position, a draw will be good enough for LDU Quito, while Independiente absolutely must score another goal and snatch all three points.


Independiente Vs. LDU Quito: 1-0 Halftime, Ecuadorians Struggling

After getting off to a fast start, LDU Quito were seriously outplayed in the final 30 minutes of their Copa Libertadores match away to Independiente, and they have a serious mountain to club. The hosts took the lead off of a 23rd minute penalty kick scored by Leonel Nuñez, and they only continued to push forward and create scoring opportunities after that point. Independiente's finishing has not been up to par, but since somewhere around the 15th minute, nothing has been up to par for LDU Quito, who should consider themselves fortunate to still have a change to get a positive result.

If this result holds, LDU Quito would no longer control their own destiny in Group 8, while Independiente would go into third place, behind Godoy Cruz on goal differential. A draw would put LDU Quito into a position to control their own destiny, while Independiente will have to win by a two goal margin if they want to say the same thing about themselves.


Independiente Vs. LDU Quito: Hosts Lead On Penalty Kick

It's been a game of two distinct segments so far in the Copa Libertadores match between Independiente and LDU Quito, with Quito looking dangerous to start the match and Independiente dominating more recently. The hosts have taken advantage of that momentum swing, along with some slightly favorable refereeing, to create a goal and go ahead 1-0 on the 23rd minute. 

The goal was a penalty kick, converted by Leonel Nuñez, but the circumstances that led to the penalty were a bit questionable. Referee Carlos Torres pointed to the spot in the 22nd minute on a set piece scuffle, when Alexander Dominguez was judged to have taken down Leonel Galeano unfairly. Dominguez also received a yellow card in addition to Independiente being granted a penalty, which was harsh due to the fact that the infraction took place as part of a set piece scrum, similar to many others that one would see in any game. His challenge didn't look malicious or intentional, so a yellow on top of a penalty was unnecessary, but what really matters is the goal. Independiente are up 1-0, and LDU Quito have some work to do.


Copa Libertadores Preview: Loaded Slate Of Games Kicks Off With Independiente Vs. LDU Quito

The groups are all starting to take shape in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, and this week should see most of them sort themselves out further. Qualification spots are up for grabs in at least six groups, with only Group 7 being completely settled, while Group 2 is virtually settled and all others are wide open. There are no less than seven fixtures of serious importance in the competition this week, with Independiente and LDU Quito getting us started with Tuesday's only major fixture.

Independiente Vs. LDU Quito

Tuesday, 8:15 pm ET

These two teams currently sit in third and fourth place in Group 8, but they also both have a game in hand on the group's two leaders, Peñarol and Godoy Cruz. A draw does Independiente no good, and they will be as good as out with anything less than three points with a trip to Uruguay looming. If LDU Quito secure a draw on the road, they will only need a draw to advance over Godoy Cruz on the final match day, as they have a stronger goal differential than the Argentinian side.

Jaguares Chiapas Vs. Internacional

Wednesday, 6:30 pm ET

Jaguares are heavy underdogs against the Group 6 leaders and defending champions, and like Independiente, nothing less than a win will do. They have struggled since losing Danilinho and Carlos Ochoa in the transfer market, but they scored a massive win over UNAM Pumas this week, signaling that they might be turning a corner. Still, a win seems like too tough of a task.

Nacional Vs. Fluminense

Wednesday, 8:50 pm ET

One of two meaningful fixtures in Group 3, the competition's "group of death," Nacional vs. Fluminense has some potential to be an absolutely fantastic match. Nacional are at the bottom of the group, but with a win, they would shoot right back up into a qualification position. Nacional have two of the most promising youngsters on the continent in Sebastian Coates and Santiago Garcia, while Flu have a guy you might have heard of named Deco, in addition to the fantastic Dario Conca.

Santos Vs. Colo-Colo

Wednesday, 8:50 pm ET

Somehow, Santos are sitting on just two points in Group 5. They've been a serious disappointment so far, but a win over first placed Colo-Colo could change everything. The absence of playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso has been massive for Santos, but their quality is sufficient that they should have more than two points at this stage. Maybe this will be the game where Neymar proves he's worth his giant contract and 30m Euro valuation.

Club America vs. Argentinos Juniors

Wednesday, 10:50 pm ET

Why the hell is any game ever kicking off this late? In any event, this is an interesting an unpredictable match. America certainly have the deeper team and the bigger stars, but Argentinos are in great form domestically. Additionally, America could get caught looking ahead to this week's Super Clasico matchup against Chivas. If that happens, the second big fixture in Group 3 could go the way of Argentinos, sending America out of the tournament. Still, it would be surprising to see them lose at the Azteca.

Gremio Vs. Junior

Thursday, 6:15 pm ET

Before this tournament started, I couldn't have told you a think about Junior. Four games into the tournament, they're making everyone look foolish, with their striker Carlos Bacca leading the way. However, playing Gremio on the road is certainly the toughest test they've faced yet. Gremio lost 2-1 in Colombia in a competitive game, so I like Gremio to win at home and leave first in the group wide open going to the final day.

Universidad Catolica Vs. Velez Sarsfield

Thursday, 8:30 pm ET

When the competition started, most believed that Velez would win Group 4 while the two Chilean sides fought for second place, leaving Caracas behind. Amazingly, this group has turned into a very interesting and competitive one, and if Universidad Catolica can win at home on Thursday, they take the group. More realistically, I like Velez to draw. Ultimately, Velez's downfall is that they're too over-reliant on the stunning Maxi Moralez. When he's not playing well, Velez don't play well.

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