Copa Libertadores 2012, Tuesday Recap: Union Española Holds Onto Lead, La U Draw, Vasco Win

Union Española did enough to keep their position on top of Group 3 on Tuesday, while Vasco da Gama recorded their first Copa Libertadores win this season and Universidad de Chile were held to a draw. Both Vasco and La U, despite being favorites in their groups coming into the competition, appear to have a lot of work left to do in order to get to get to the knockout stages.

Union Española 1-1 Universidad Catolica

A simple look at the box score tells much of the story in this match. UC showed up to kick and claw, and they did enough to earn a draw. They opened the scoring in the 39th minute, when Enzo Andia finished off a free kick by Michael Ríos with a brilliant header. Union Española would earn a penalty in the 42nd minute, when UC goalkeeper Cristopher Toselli smashed into Jorge Ampuero in the penalty area. The visitors were not happy with the referee, who made the correct decision.

Toselli saved Emanuel Herrera's first attempt, but a UC player clearly encroached right in front of the official and a retake of the penalty was ordered. Again, the Catolica players berated the referee after he made a correct decision. Ultimately, a total of three UC players would be booked for dissent before the end of the half. Incredibly, Toselli saved the retake as well, but Herrera was able to score on the rebound to equalize.

Emotions got the better of Catolica at the end of the game. Francisco Silva was sent off for a dangerous challenge in the 88th minute, and that was followed by Rodrigo Valenzuela seeing red after the whistle for dissent. A group of Catolica players went to abuse the officials at the end of the match, and they're lucky that only one of them will be suspended for it.

Peñarol 1-1 Universidad de Chile

A combination of some more physical than usual play from La U and some questionable officiating helped Peñarol to grab a point, as the visiting side -- best known for their stylish and attacking brand of football -- were whistled for an astonishing 18 fouls. There's no taking away from Peñarol's goal, however. Andrés Freitas opened the scoring in the 21st minute with an absolute bullet of a shot into the back of the net from 20 yards out. La U would equalize in the 34th minute through Junior Fernandez, who scored an equally impressive goal on a volley from 12 yards.

Even though the calls didn't always go La U's way, Peñarol still attacked their visitors brilliantly, and Johnny Herrera had to make a number of good saves. If it wasn't for a great performance by the La U goalkeeper, Peñarol would have come away with all three points.

Vasco da Gama 3-2 Alianza Lima

Vasco was dominant for most of their match against Alianza, but they allowed the Peruvians to score once with ten men, while their goals came on their only two shots on target. With the home side well in control early, Alianza struck first on the counter, with Sebastián Charquero taking advantage of a terrible defensive error by Rodolfo to put his team up in the 17th minute. Vasco would strike back just two minutes later, equalizing on a bad own goal by Christian Ramos.

Early in the second half, Alianza's Giancarlo Carmona was sent off for a handball in his own penalty area. Carmona did not deny a clear goal-scoring opportunity, but was already on a yellow from the first half and was sent off for picking up a second. Alecsandro stepped up to take the penalty, but slipped on his attempt and hit the crossbar.

Vasco would eventually take the lead through their star man, central defender Dedé. On a corner kick by Fágner, he rose above everyone and placed the ball perfectly at the back post to give his team the lead. Vasco had a chance to wrap up the game seven minutes later when Joazhiño Arroe gave away a penalty, but Solomon Libman made a miraculous save on Alecsandro's attempt. After two misses by Alecsandro, Vasco would change penalty takers.

Juninho Pernambucano scored the ultimate winner in the 80th minute, converting on a penalty after a José Fernández foul. Walter Fernando Ibañez stunned Vasco with an 85th minute goal that made things interesting late, but Alianza were unable to find an equalizer.

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