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The veteran dead-ball specialist used all his experience and mastery to open the scoring for Vasco against Libertad, and sent the Brazilians on the way to victory

Copa Libertadores Player of the Week: Juninho Pernambucano
Club: Vasco
Country: Brazil
Age: 37
Role: Midfielder
Achievement: Inspired his side to victory with an ingenious strike coming off the bench


Former Lyon legend Juninho Pernambucano, famous across the world of football for his wonderful dead-ball abilities, is in the twilight of his career back in Brazil with Vasco. Having almost retired in January 2012, the cultured midfielder was persuaded to stay on for just six months; the tempting carrot of a second Copa Libertadores triumph with the Rio side 14 years after the first proving too good to turn down.

Judging by Wednesday's victory against Libertad, Vasco were absolutely right to retain the veteran star, as his entrance galvanised a flagging team and kept their dream of repeating the success of 1998 very much alive.

When Juninho entered at half-time, the Gigante da Colina had toiled against the tenacious Paraguayans, threatening but unable to break through. It took the 37-year-old, however, just seven minutes to open the door. Having seen a corner kick cleared back to his feet, the entire crowd was expecting him to cross the ball back into the danger zone. Crucially, this included Libertad keeper Rodrigo Munoz.

With incredible foresight, the midfielder saw that Munoz's eyes were fixed on the penalty area, and so rifled in a dipping shot that dropped inside the near post with barely an inch to spare. Munoz realised his error and tried to salvage the ball, but could only deflect it further into the net as Vasco celebrated the ingenuity of their wily genius. Alecsandro later confirmed a 2-0 victory, and with three more points the Brazilians will feel confident of making the last-16 - and taking the first steps towards potential victory.

Honourable Mentions

Jhasmany Campos, Bolivar
: The highly-rated young Bolivian playmaker scored one of two stunning efforts to give his side a massive win over Junior. Jhasmany's strike was a wicked curling free kick from distance, which put Bolivar 2-0 up and all but ended the Colombians' chances of making the last-16.

Mario Regueiro, Lanus: Known as 'Super Mario' around Lanus, Regueiro showed just why deserves the nickname as he netted both goals to give his side a crucial 2-0 victory away to Emelec in Ecuador. 

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