Photo: Tigre Advances in Copa Libertadores After Libertad Defeat
Argentine soccer club Tigre scored a 5-3 road victory here over Paraguay’s Libertad behind two goals each by Matias Perez Garcia and Ruben Botta to advance to the knockout phase of the Copa Libertadores tournament.
Botta found the back of the net in the 10th and 78th minutes, while Perez Garcia scored in the 28th and 54th minutes of Thursday’s game at Dr. Nicolas Leoz Stadium in Asuncion.
Gaston Diaz also added another goal for Tigre off a penalty kick in the 35th minute.
Libertad, meanwhile, got two first half goals: one in the 14th minute from Miguel Samudio and another in the 37th minute from Jose Ariel Nuñez.
Pablo Velazquez then added one more goal late in the second half for the Paraguayan club after the game was already out of reach.
Tigre’s attacking forays down the sidelines and the constant presence of striker Ezequiel Maggiolo and Botta in Libertad’s penalty area gave the Paraguayan club headaches throughout the high-scoring contest.
Libertad was left with just 10 players after defenseman Ismael Benegas picked up a red card in the 32nd minute for a foul on Botta.
Behind on the scoreboard and desperate to achieve at least a draw, Libertad left itself vulnerable to Tigre’s counterattack in the second half.
Libertad would have advanced to the knockout stage of South America’s most prestigious club soccer competition with a draw and finished as the top team in Group 2 of the round-robin phase with a win, but instead was eliminated from the tournament.
Brazil’s Palmeiras claimed the top spot in Group 2 despite losing 1-0 Thursday to Peru’s Sporting Cristal and will square off against Mexican club Tijuana in the round of 16 of the knockout stage.
Tigre will play Paraguay’s Olimpia, which finished as the top team in Group 7.
The knockout stage gets underway on April 24.