South American Roundup: Recoba beauty crowns Nacional champions of Uruguay

'El Chino' cemented his standing as an idol in Parque Central as he hit the winner against Defensor Sporting, while Colo Colo surprised the U to edge closer to the Apertura final

Colo Colo have one foot in the final of Chile's Apertura championship, as the Cacique rallied to inflict a surprise defeat on current holders Universidad de Chile. Weary after a bruising Libertadores defeat to Boca Juniors, the U went down by the same 2-0 scoreline to their Santiago rivals. Esteban Paredes and Bryan Rabello did the damage for Colo Colo, who held on despite being reduced to nine men to take a big first-leg advantage in the semi-final.

The other semi saw Union Espanola take a narrow lead after the opener, as they look to seal a brilliant start to 2012 with a shot at the title. Union made the Libertadores last-16 earlier in the year, and a single goal from Emiliano Vecchio gives them a slender advantage over O'Higgins.


Two games into the cudrangular series that will decide who makes the Apertura final, and it is Colombian giants Deportivo Cali and Santa Fe who hold a narrow lead in their respective groups. In Group A, Cali were on form at the weekend to take down Atletico Huila 2-1, securing three points through Cristian Nazarith and Gustavo Biscayzacu. Regular season leaders Deportes Tolima meanwhile saw red twice in a 1-0 defeat to Pasto, a result which means the newly-promoted side share the summit with Cali on four points albeit with an inferior goals scored record.

In Group B, Santa Fe followed up an opening victory with a hard-fought tie against La Equidad. The Bogota institution went behind twice away from home, but each time pegged back through Diego Cabrera to earn a 2-2 draw. They share the top spot on four points alongside Itagui, who had David Cordoba's strike to thank for a 1-0 win away to Chico FC.


Barcelona stay top of the pile in Ecuador's Primera Fase despite defeat at the weekend, as Gustavo Costar's men prepare for what will be a tortured championship run-in between the six teams that still have a chance of lifting the title. The Guayaquil side went down 2-1 to El Nacional, but held on to the summit thanks to a 2-2 draw between fellow hopefuls Liga de Quito and Independiente Jose Teran, who are just one point back.


With just four games to go in the Apertura, Olimpia continue their pursuit of the title with a little help from Asuncion rivals Libertad. The Repolleros helped Olimpia go four points clear at the top as they defeated second-placed Cerro Porteno 2-1 in Sunday's clasico. Jonathan Fabbro almost rescued a point for Cerro with his 74th minute equaliser, but there was still time for Rodolfo Gamarra to steal all three when he hit the net two minutes from the end.

The loss for the Ciclon means Olimpia extend their lead at the summit to four points, after grounding out a 0-0 draw with Tacuary.

A sublime strike from Alvaro Recoba confirmed Nacional as the Primera Division champions for the second year running, as 'El Chino' helped his side squeeze past Defensor Sporting in the final of the 2011-12 season.

Clausura champions Defensor met their Apertura equivalents in the Estadio Centenario on Saturday afternoon, and it was the ex-Inter legend who decided proceedings late in the first half. Recoba played a neat exchange before ghosting through the Violeta defence, and rounded off the move by delicately chipping the ball over goalkeeper Yonatan Irrazabal. The Bolso held on to record a 1-0 victory, and celebrated the 44th title of their history in style.