Copa Libertadores 2018: Evaluating the first qualifying stage

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Deportivo Táchira (Venezuela)

Estadio Bellavista in Ambato, Ecuador hosted Copa Libertadores action for the first time in history on January 22. Macará hosted Deportivo Táchira in the final pairing of the opening qualifying stage. The two sides played to a 1-1 draw. Elvis Patta scored first for the hosts, beating Carlos Espinoza in the 17th minute. Táchira pulled level in the second half as Edgar Pérez netted an equalizer.

Upon returning home to Venezuela, Deportivo Táchira held on for a scoreless draw in the second leg. That was enough to earn passage through to the next round. Macará put four shots on target, but Beycker Velásquez managed to turn away every attempt. Thanks to Pérez’s goal in Ambato, the nil-nil result in San Cristóbal was enough to send through Deportivo Táchira to the next round.

It wasn’t the most attractive of efforts, but it was enough to send Táchira through. They stayed alive for another round in the club’s 21st Copa Libertadores appearance. Now the most successful Venezuelan side in the tournament’s history turns its attention around quickly as they prepare to face Independiente Santa Fe from Colombia.

Next: MLS teams in Copa Libertadores?

Stay tuned in the coming days as we take a deeper look at the next round of the Copa Libertadores ahead of the first leg of second qualifying stage matches on February 1.