After enduring a lot of crowing from Brazilians and Brazilian football supporters about the fact that five of their teams had progressed to the last 16 while no more than 2 from any other country had made it, it was a delight to see 4 of their teams eliminated on Brazilian Black Wednesday.
After Argentina, Colombia and Mexico also lost one representative each the quarter final set up became one of the most diverse in the history of international club football with the eight participants coming from seven different countries. The only country to provide two representatives was surprisingly Paraguay after Cerro Porteño eliminated Estudiantes on Penalties and Libertad pulled of a brilliant comeback against Fluminense.
Cerro's reward wasa tie against Jaguares of Mexico and Libertad ended up with possibly the toughest draw of all; a game against Vélez Sársfield who are in a brilliant run of form and sit at the top of the Argentine Primerá.
Santos were the only remaining Brazilian side and they faced a tough test against Colombian champions and 2004 winners Once Caldas who surpisingly eliminated Cruzeiro (who were undoubtedly the best team in the group stages) on their own pitch.
The last quarter final pitched two more teams that eliminated Brazilian sides in the last 16. Chilean champions Universidad Cátolica and five time Copa Libertadores champions Peñarol of Uruguay.
|Winner: Vélez Sársfield|
Vélez Sársfield won the first leg 3-0, Maxi Moralez scored the first goal and then Libertad goalkeeper Tobiás Vargas gifted Juan Manuel Martínez a couple of goals, the first by giving away a needless penalty and the second by letting the shot squirm under his body into the net.
Vélez secured their progression to the semi-finals with an impressive 2-4 away win in the return leg. Libertad made a decent game of it but Maxi Moralez scored equalisers each time the home side put themselves ahead in the tie. The second Vélez equaliser was a brilliantly crafted team goal. Late in the game Guillermo Franco and Augusto Fernández bagged another couple of goals to give the Argentines a famous 7-2 aggregate win.
Alan Patrick scored the only goal of the game to give Santos a valuable away win against Once Caldas in the first leg. Neymar scored early in the second leg two give the Brazilians a two goal advantage but Wason Rentería equalised after 30 minutes. Santos managed to hold on to their slender advantage for the rest of the game when a single Once Caldas away goal would have been enough to send the Colombians through instead.
Two terrible handling errors from UC goalkeeper Paulo Garces gifted Peñarol a 2-0 advantage in the first leg but Universidad Cátolica were left with some hope as they would have home advantage in the second leg and have shown that they have the firepower to score planty of goals against very strong opposition on their day.
The second leg was a fantastic game. Universidad Cátolica scored twice to cancel out Peñarol's two goal lead from the first leg, Fernando Meneses opened the scoring after some good holdup play and an exceptional pass from Argentine forward Lucas Pratto and Roberto Gutíerrez scored the second with a decent turn and a cracking long range strike. The game looked to be heading for a penalty shootout until Fabián Estoyanoff snuck in at the back post to tap in the decisive goal in the 85th minute to ensure Penñarol's first appearance in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals since they last won the tournament back in 1987.
|Winner: Cerro Porteño|
Cerro Porteño came away from their trip to Mexico with a useful 1-1 draw. Argentine midfielder Jonathan Fabbro put the visitors a goal ahead after 73 minutes but Michael Pedroza headed a potentially vital equaliser for Jaguares in injury time.
In the second leg Cerro Porteño bagged a 1-0 win to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1999 thanks to a 70th minute goal from Pedro Benítez who took advantage of some shambolic defending from Jaguares to head the decisive goal of the tie.