Copa Libertadores 2018: Evaluating the first qualifying stage

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

Olimpia (Paraguay)

Olimpia was the only team to score a decisive victory in the opening round. The Paraguayan side opened its Copa Libertadores campaign with a trip to Uruguay. There, they managed only a scoreless draw in the first leg against Montevideo Wanderers despite a clear advantage in possession and attacking play. They dominated the spine of the pitch, but could not put any goals past Wanderers goalkeeper Martín Rodríguez.

They had no such trouble upon their return home to Asunción for Friday’s second leg. Rodríguez was bombarded from the outset as Olimpia pushed immediately for a goal. The visitors held up firm defensively through the first half, but finally broke down in the 56th minute as a cross came through into the box.

It eventually landed at the foot of Néstor Camacho, who punched the ball past Rodríguez. The opportunistic strike marked Camacho’s first Champions League goal for his new club after coming over from Guaraní in July. Oscar Giménez added an insurance goal in the closing minutes to ensure passage for the home side.

El Rey de Copas is still in the running for a fourth Copa Libertadores title. They take on Atlético Junior, the Colombian club from the Caribbean port of Barranquilla, in the second qualifying stage thanks to the strong effort in the second leg.