The young striker added to Dracena's opener to lead the Brazilians to a routine win over Juan Aurich, while Nacional and Godoy Cruz play another riveting draw and Velez also win
|A last-gasp effort from Juan Manuel Martinez gave Velez all three points in Liniers, after a frustrating evening looked set to end with a share of the spoils against the determined Ecuadorians.
The Fortin dominated from the outset, against a Quito side directed by former club coach and two-time champion with Boca Juniors, Carlos Ischia. However, the Argentines could not find a way past the visiting defence, and in particular Marcelo Elizaga. The goalkeeper put in a man of the match performance, denying Mauro Obolo, Sebastian Dominguez and the rest of the hosts time and again to keep his side competitive.
Fabian Cubero also went close, but saw his effort hit the post after good work by Martinez down the flank. Just when Deportivo could sense a draw though, Martinez latched on to Fernando Ortiz's driven ball and finished well on the half-volley to finally defeat Elizaga between the posts.
The win puts Velez five points clear at the top of Group 5, having picked up nine from their first four fixtures. Chivas and Defensor Sporting are still to play in the fourth round of matches, and could cut the gap on the Argentines.
Atletico Nacional and Godoy Cruz battled to another memorable draw on Thursday evening, in a result which was more welcome to the Argentines who had to hang on under intense pressure in the second half.
Expectations were high in Medellin after the teams played out a barnstorming 4-4 draw two weeks ago, and it looked like fans would not be disappointed when Nacional took the lead after just two minutes. Luis Mosquera drove into the net, after the away defence failed to clear in their own penalty area.
The Mendoza side did not get disheartened, however. A storming long-range free kick from Jorge Curbelo levelled proceedings, and with 10 minutes of the first half still to play Facundo Castillon, above, converted to send the Tomba into the break with a surprise 2-1 lead.
The Medellin side were given the perfect chance to level on the hour when Nico Sanchez clumsily dragged down Carlos Renteria to concede a clear penalty. Mosquera stepped up and duly notched his second; despite the best efforts of Sebastian Torrico, who guessed right but could not reach the forward's low strike.
Nacional dominated for the rest of the game but failed to find the winner; Juan Quintero going closest with a free kick that rattled the crossbar. There was still time though for Godoy Cruz to squander a golden chance at the death when Armand Cooper fired a rebound chance well over the bar.
The Colombians continue to lead Group 8, three points ahead of Godoy Cruz. Universidad de Chile could leapfrog the Argentines, however, and move within one point of the leaders if victorious over Penarol.
|A goal in each half was enough to lead Muricy Ramalho's Santos to an efficient victory over Peruvian side Juan Aurich on Thursday evening, as Edu Dracena and Neymar struck to send the Peixe top of their group.
Having seen results work in their favour on Wednesday evening when Group 1 rivals Internacional and The Strongest played out a draw, Santos knew that a win was vital to move them clear at the summit. The Brazilians controlled proceedings in the Pacaembu, but in a torrential downpour struggled to translate that dominance into chances against an Aurich side happy to take a draw.
A rare attacking foray from the home team brought a decisive goal. Neymar's corner was headed towards goal by Ganso, and when Diego Penny couldn't hold the shot defender Edu Dracena was on hand to put in the rebound. Ahead after just 14 minutes, Santos went into the break with the same scoreline having failed to capitalise on a bright start and push forward for more.
The teams were almost 30 minutes late coming out for the second half due to a floodlight failure in Sao Paulo, but Santos wasted no time after the restart to double their advantage. Neymar found himself on the end of Borges' cross, and finished with the left foot to give his side what proved to be an unassailable lead. Santos now have nine points from their first four games, two clear of Inter and The Strongest.