Libertad weren't at their best in the first half against Cruz Azul, but a good second half performance helped them to an important away draw and a goal. They let Cruz Azul create a lot of shooting opportunities and dodged a couple of bullets on Tuesday night, but they'll be happy to leave Mexico City with a 1-1 draw.
The Paraguayan side are favorites headed home in their Copa Libertadores tie, and they'll become massive favorites if Cruz Azul goalkeeper Jesus Corona isn't able to make the trip. In an unfortunate incident in the beginning of their first leg match, Corona took an inadvertent knee to the head in the10th minute and appeared to lose consciousness on the pitch. It took three minutes for him to be stretchered off, and he was replaced by Yosgart Gutierrez.
The Blue Machine opened the scoring through Javier Orozco in the 26th minute. At the end of a great passing move, Edixon Perea swung a cross towards the far post, which was met by the head of Maranhao. He couldn't direct the ball towards the goal, but did find Orozco, who finished off the move and scored his fifth goal of the competition.
Libertad played a fairly conservative game in the first half, but were much more aggressive in the second half. They looked more open as a result and Rodrigo Muñoz had to make five second half saves as a result, but their aggression paid off for them. Striker Pablo Velazquez was one of three Libertad players in the Cruz Azul penalty area when he got onto the end of a ball by Carlos Bonet, heading it into an empty net that Gutierrez had vacated. The Blue Machine's substitute keeper made an ill-advised decision to come after the ball, even though he had to get through three attacking players to get to the ball, and needless to say, he didn't get there.
Cruz Azul have the benefit of a full week's rest because of their elimination from the Mexican Liguilla playoffs, but Libertad will still be favorites to advance in the return leg.