Group 8: Liga de Quito 2-0 Godoy Cruz
A storming second half display from Liga de Quito saw them join Peñarol in the knock-out stages of the Copa Libertadores, as they pulled away from brave Godoy Cruz to eliminate the Argentines in their first ever continental appearance.
Knowing before the game that, bar a miracle from Independiente against the Uruguayans, a draw at home was enough to make the last 16, the Blanco started cautiously and showed little against the enterprising Mendocinos. Godoy meanwhile chased a necessary win and had several chances in the first half, most notably a scramble in the penalty area in the final minutes of the first half which was belatedly cleared by the Ecuadorians.
The second period however proved to be a different story, and the Tomba were left with a mountain to climb when Luis Bolaños netted from close range, after sterling work from Hernan Barcos down the left hand side. The Argentine striker added a spectacular goal to his assist just minutes later; again down the left, the lanky forward left his marker standing and blasted past Sebastian Torrico from an acute angle, effectively ending the game as a contest.
The rest of the game was a formality for Liga, even more so when Carlos Sanchez saw red for a vicious kick aimed at a prostrate Ecuadorian opponent. Edgar Bauza's team qualify in first place from Group 8, and will enjoy the advantage of an improved seeding when the draw for the knockout stage is made.
Peñarol 0-1 Independiente
Argentines Independiente managed to ruin a party atmosphere in the Estadio Centenario by beating Peñarol on their home turf, although with qualification already assured for the hosts there is no doubt which team left the happiest.
The mood in Montevideo was one of fiesta, demonstrated by the 15,000 sq meter banner unfurled by the Carboneros pre-game which was the biggest ever seen at a football stadium. The Argentines meanwhile needed an unlikely eight goal win over their rivals to stand a chance of making the next stage; although even this chance was extinguished by Quito's victory, Facundo Parra's first half goal gave the away fans who crossed the Rio de la Plata something to cheer early on.
The game developed into a free-flowing, back and forth encounter, with Independiente pushing forward with nothing to lose and Peñarol desperate to record a positive result in front of a Centenario filled to its 60,000 capacity. Keepers Sebastian Sosa and Fabian Assmann were both tested on numerous occasions, but held firm to keep the score at 1-0. Assmann was later sent off along with Peñarol's Juan Manuel Olivera, but goalscorer Parra donned the gloves with 10 minutes to go and kept a clean sheet to ensure the Rojo victory.
The loss pushes the Carbonero down to second, but after a mediocre start to Group 8 Diego Aguirre's team were nonetheless delighted to confirm their continuity in the tournament they have won five times. The Rey de Copas Independiente meanwhile bow out, and now must regroup and focus on a crunch clasico clash against Racing Club on Saturday.