Published on May 25th, 2012 | by Daniel Boyle0
Johnny Herrera Saves the Day for Universidad de Chile
SANTIAGO — A packed Estadio Nacional saw Universidad de Chile advance to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores after a tense penalty shootout against Libertad. “La U” went into the match with a slight advantage, after a long range effort from Gustavo Lorenzetti in Asunción saw the first leg finish in a 1-1 draw.
Teen sensation Ángelo Henriquez had the best of the early goal opportunities, but headed the ball over the goal post. In the early proceedings, los azules dominated possession, showing their regular attacking flair. In the sixteenth minute he was brought down by Cristian Nasuti, who received one of seven yellow cards for the Paraguayan outfit.
From the ensuing free kick, Marcelo Diaz surprised everybody when he rolled the ball under the wall, past the goalkeeper and into the back of the net. It wasn’t long until Libertad hit back though. A fatal error by Osvaldo González from a free kick saw the defender head the ball into his own goal.
Only one change was made by Jorge Sampaoli in the match, with Peruvian Raúl Ruidíaz replacing Henriquez. Despite his injection, Universidad de Chile failed to play directly to the goal, with shots few and far-between in the second half. Libertad almost won the match in the dying minutes, but a great save from Herrera sent the game directly to penalties.
Unlike other competitions, there is no extra time in the event of a tie. Just as Santos had beaten Vélez Sársfield earlier in the evening, this game would be decided by a shootout.
Charles Aránguiz was the first to step up, and like all his teammates to follow, blasted the ball into the goal. The shot from Ruidíaz showed that luck was on Chile’s side. The young Peruvian striker hit the top of the goal only for the ball to deflect inside.
The following shot from Victor Alaya was blocked by Herrera and “La U” had the upper hand. To seal the match, Lorenzetti blasted the final goal for a 5-3 victory in the shootout.
Univerisdad de Chile move to the semi-finals of South America’s most prestigious competition for the fourth time. They appeared in 1970, 1996 and 2010, but have never before reached the final. They are now preparing for a clash against Boca Juniors. For Boca, a draw with Fluminense was enough for the Argentine squad to advance to the next stage.
“La U” will visit La Bombonera on June 13 and return to Estadio Nacional on June 20. Aside from celebrating the victory, Universidad de Chile also celebrated 85 years of existence.
This post was originally published on I Love Chile.