Racing Club drew 1-1 tonight with Saint Paul in a match played as a visitor at the Morumbí stadium, valid for the first leg of the round of 16 of the Liberators cup.
The opening of the scoring was for the local team at 35 minutes with a goal from Brazilian striker Vitor Bueno after an error by goalkeeper Gabriel Arias, while for La “Academia” Enzo Copetti equalized at 46 minutes, both during the first stage.
Racing came out to play equal to equal to San Pablo in the mythical Morumbí stadium with a line of five defenders -Mauricio Martínez joined as central- and with the rises of Juan Cáceres and Eugenio Mena on their respective sides.
The “Academy” became strong in the midfield, pressured the São Paulo team in the exits of their own goal from the beginning of the game and forced them to make mistakes several times.
As the minutes passed, Juan Antonio Pizzi’s team lowered the intensity, although he continued as a clear protagonist with a good job from Aníbal Moreno and the constant deployment of Leonel Miranda in the midfield.
At 18 minutes, Avellaneda’s team had the first clear approach in the rival goal with a powerful shot from outside the area that went just deflected over the crossbar.
The local team, meanwhile, waited for their rival in their own field and sought to quickly go out on a counterattack but without too much depth, with few people and without clarity.
Those led by Argentine coach Hernán Crespo had their first clear chance at 20 minutes with a shot from outside the area by Igor Vinicius that forced goalkeeper Gabriel Arias to demand himself with a fly over the lower right post.
The opening of the scoring was for the local at 35 minutes after a rude error by goalkeeper Gabriel Arias who could not retain a cross from Welington’s left and left the ball served to the recently entered Vitor Bueno.
Two minutes later, Arias recovered from his failure in the goal of San Pablo and saved his team with a spectacular save in a heads-up against Bueno, stretching his left arm.
The goal against disordered the “albiceleste” team, it took away the confidence it had shown up to that moment and allowed its rival to grow with a string of cons in which it was close to increasing the difference.
However, seconds from the end of the first half, striker Enzo Copetti took a shot from outside the area (the first in this Copa Libertadores) that got into goalkeeper Tiago Volpi’s lower right post to go to rest with a equality.
The second half showed the “Academia” more solid than its rival, again with tactical order, the rises of both sides and the constant pressure in the visiting field.
The Argentine Crespo’s team, except for ten minutes of lucidity in the first stage, could not become strong in the midfield and did not manage to handle the ball or take ownership of the game during the final stage, although the entry of ex-Independiente, Martín Benitez gave it more verticality.
In the last minutes of the match both Racing, which featured the debut of Javier Correa, and San Pablo had a chance to win, but they did not achieve the necessary efficiency.
The rematch will be played next Tuesday from 9:30 p.m. at the Juan Domingo Perón stadium in Avellaneda.
The winner of this key will be measured against the winner of the cross between the Universidad Católica, from Chile and the current champion of the Libertadores, Palmeiras, from Brazil.