By NESTOR F. SEBASTIAN
The unpredictability and parity was demonstrated this week in the second week of Copa Libertadores group-stage matches as Chilean and Peruvian clubs got off to strong starts to their respective campaigns.
Both of Chile's top teams, Colo Colo and Universidad de Chile, achieved 1-0 victories over their Venezuelan counterparts, Deportivo Italia and Caracas FC, but it was Colo Colo that should have capitalized on various opportunities for a comfortable lead only to be thwarted by Italia's Bolivian veteran goalkeeper, who made some key saves to keep the deficit to a minimum. U. de Chile got off to quick start with a 2nd-minute penalty after a rookie push in the box by Caracas' Jose Manuel Rey. The Chileans, however, let Caracas accomodate itself, with the Venezuelans close to equalizing towards the end of the match.
The real story of the week was Peru's top teams, Alianza Lima and Universitario de Deportes, both of whom produced exceptional displays at home against Argentina's Estudiantes de la Plata and Lanus.
Universitario took advantage of Lanus' recent poor form by dominating the first half and intruding Lanus' midfield plan in the second half on its way to a 2-0 win. But the shock result was at Alianza Lima's stadium, where they dismantle defending champions Estudiantes 4-1 behind a brilliant display by Wilmer Aguirre, who produced a hat trick. The Peruvians displayed a ferocious pace even after Estudiantes' Jose Sosa gave his side the lead after eight seconds from the opening whistle, which didn't seem to faze Alianza's morale.
Here are the highlights of Alianza's victory:
In other matches, Paraguay's Libertad won their second straight match at home with a 4-0 drubbing of Bolivia's Blooming, who look like the early candidate to be eliminated from competition while Argentina's Banfield stole a 4-1 win in Ecuador against Deportivo Cuenca.
What did you think of these matches? Hopeful Peru can climb out of mediocrity? Are Argentine teams in trouble?
Share your thoughts below.