Copa Libertadores: Neymar and Ronaldinho fail to impress as Santos are beaten in Bolivia and Flamengo draw with Lanus

The two Brazilian icons were far from their best as all three Brasileiro teams in action this week failed to pick up a win in their opening game
The Strongest
The reigning champions got off to a good start in an enthralling, open game in La Paz but they eventually succumbed to the immense altitude of the Bolivian capital city and suffered a shock defeat.

Santos were ahead within 10 minutes when Ganso’s excellent delivery was met by Neymar. The young striker’s initial header was saved by Daniel Vaca but Henrique fired the rebound into the open net.

The Strongest reacted well and continued to attack the Brazilians and their hard work paid off in the 35th minute. Enrique Parada’s cross from the right was missed by a host of players before Ernesto Cristaldo fired a low volley in the bottom corner at the back post. The visitors wasted chance after chance in the second half; Elano hit the bar while Neymar failed to hit the target countless times and Alan Kardec failed to find the net as their side rapidly tired.

Pablo Escobar was keeping Rafael on his toes with a series of excellent efforts from dead-balls and it was he who provided the assisst for his side's late winner as Rodrigo Ramallo capitalised on some poor marking to turn in from a corner. The win puts The Strongest level with Internacional at the top of Group 1 while Santos join Juan Aurich at the bottom, three points adrift.

Deportivo Tachira
It looked as though Corinthians were going to continue to disappoint in the Copa Libertadores after last year's preliminary round departure to Deportes Tolima but a late goal spared Tite's men their blushes.

The Venezuelans took a surprise lead after 22 minutes when Sergio Herrera capitalised on some sloppy defending, squeezing between Leandro Castan and Julio Cesar to lift the ball into the net.

Timao responded well to going behind and Danilo hit the frame of the goal with a header from a set-piece in the 26th minute. Moments later Emerson produced a weak effort from Alessandro’s cutback that really should have found the net.

With 25 minutes remaining Corinthians received a huge life-line when Deportivo Tachira had a goal ruled out. Angel Chourio was called offside by the referee’s assistant in a somewhat debatable decision. Moments later Deportivo Tachira’s last man Wilker Angel produced a fantastic last-ditch challenge to deny Leandro Castan a shot on goal.

The visitors had been the better side but could not find a way past the Aurinegro. Tite's side were tactically rigid but with the last act of the match Ralf nodded in from Alex’s free kick to rescue a point for Timao. The two sides remain joined in second position but Deportivo Tachira face a tricky trip to Mexico to face Cruz Azul net week while Corinthians host Nacional Asuncion in three weeks time.

After a dominating performance Lanus arguably deserved more than just a point after going behind to the Brazilian side who scored with their first chance of the game.

The hosts were in charge from the off and were not giving Mengao a look in. Juan Neira saw his shot crash off the bar after a well worked free kick 20 minutes in. Ten minutes later Mariano Pavone saw his effort on the turn saved by Felipe at his near post.

Ronaldinho was statuesque but it was Flamengo who struck first, seconds before the break. After an exquisite series of passes from the Rubro-Negro the Lanus defence failed to deal with Junior Cesar’s cross. It reached Leo Moura at the back post who tucked away the game’s opening goal.

El Granate continued to control the match as Flamengo offered very little going forward. They continued to grind away and eventually earned an equaliser with 15 minutes remaining. Diego Braghieri regained possession with an overzealous challenge on Junior Cesar outside the Flamengo box, though the referee saw nothing amiss. The ball fell to Silvio Romero and his cutback was teed up for Cesar Carranza by Pavone.

The two sides occupy second and third position in Group 2; sandwiched between Emelec at the top and Olimpia at the bottom. Lanus travel to Paraguay to play Olimpia next week and Flamengo host the Ecuadorian group leaders in three weeks time.