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Having struggled with injury and inconsistency in the last few years, the former Argentina international scored two fantastic headers to guide his side to a surprise 3-2 victory

Copa Libertadores Player of the Week: Luciano Figueroa
Club: Emelec
Country: Argentina
Age: 30
Role: Striker
Achievement: A double which led the unfancied Ecuadorians to a shock victory over Flamengo


Fans of the Argentina national team with good memories may well remember the name of Luciano Figueroa, albeit with slightly more hair than the physical striker sports in Guayaquil as an Emelec player. Having boasted an enviable scoring record first with hometown club Rosario Central and then Mexican side Cruz Azul, 'Lucho' carried that form straight into Marcelo Bielsa's Albiceleste plans.

Nine goals in 15 international appearances made Figueroa a regular starter between 2004 and 2005, and during that period he picked up runners-up medals in the Copa America and Confederations Cup as well as gold in the 2004 Olympics, although he did not play a game. From that point, however, things started to deteriorate. A spell in Villarreal as Diego Forlan's understudy was followed by a move to River, but a cruciate ligament injury seven games into his time at the club was a further blow from which he never fully bounced back.

Now, though, there are signs that the prolific forward may be rediscovering the form which made him an international. Figueroa had already netted once for Emelec in the Copa since joining in January, and two towering headers at home to Flamengo brought the Ecuadorians back into the game twice as the heavy favourites failed to hold on. A 2-2 draw appeared fair for an impressive comeback, but there was to be one final twist as Fernando Gaibor netted from the penalty spot to secure all three points.

The win puts Emelec, who had looked dead and buried at the foot of their group, back in contention for a place in the knock-outs as they leapfrog Flamengo into third place. Their final game against Olimpia, who are one point ahead in the last qualification place, is a straight fight to make the last-16 and if they do upset the odds to make it, the Argentine forward, finally back on the recovery trail, will be the toast of Guayaquil.

Honourable Mentions

Mariano Pavone, Lanus
: The Argentine striker was the best in an imperious performance by the Grana as they destroyed Olimpia at home and put one foot into the next round. Pavone was on target twice in a 6-0 mauling, scoring two of the first three goals to break the Decano spirit in the first hour.

Gustavo Lorenzetti, Universidad de Chile: Just like Figueroa, a graduate of the Rosario Central academy, and the final piece of an Argentine clean sweep in this week's selection. The 26-year-old put in a performance of the highest quality to control the midfield against Godoy Cruz and supplied an exquisite pass that led to the only goal of a 1-0 victory - one which confirmed the U's place in the last-16.

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