Published on April 9th, 2014 | by John Lyons0
Sad O´Higgins pay the penalty in Libertadores
Striker Pablo Calandria missed an 85th-minute penalty as O´Higgins crashed out of the Copa Libertadores in frustrating fashion.
Rancagua – What should have been an evening of celebration as O´Higgins returned to their refurbished El Teniente home turned into a night of frustration as the hosts couldn’t make the crucial breakthrough against Lanús.
The Capo de Provincia needed to win to book their place in the last 16 and they gave it everything they had. However, they came up against inspired Lanús keeper Agustín Marchesín.
The shot-stopper made a string of fine saves to thwart O´Higgins, but it looked as though the home´s side moment had finally come when Leandro Somoza was penalised for a handball with five minutes left.
Calandria had been ice-cool with his penalties as O´Higgins won the Apertura last term, but this time it wasn´t to be. That man Marchesín kept out the spot-kick to cap his spectacular night.
Both sides finished with ten men following the late dismissals of Santiago Silva (Lanús) and Pablo Hernández (O´Higgins), but it was the Argentinians who were the ones celebrating at the final whistle.
In an extremely tight group, Cerro Porteño beat Deportivo Cali 3-2 at home last night to take top place in the group with ten points. Reigning Copa Sudamericana holders Lanús qualified in second place with eight points.
Third-placed O´Higgins and fourth-placed Cali both finished with seven points. O´Higgins won one, drew four and lost one of their Group 3 matches.
Manager Eduardo Berizzo said: “We´re sad that we didn´t win considering how well we played. We´re frustrated not to qualify from a group in which we weren´t weaker than anyone else.
“We deserved to qualify and no rival outclassed us – we could have beaten them all. We must feel satisfied and proud.”
Universidad de Chile put their Libertadores chances on the line tonight (10pm). Barring a miraculous result from Peru´s Real Garcilaso against Cruzeiro in Brazil, la U are going to need to beat Defensor Sporting in Uruguay to qualify from Group 5.
Chile´s other representatives, Unión Española, can be more relaxed as they´ve already qualified for the last 16. They round off their Group 2 campaign with a home match against Ecuador´s Independiente del Valle tonight (10pm).
*Colo Colo midfielder Jason Silva has been punished with a four-game ban by the Chilean football association (ANFP) for kicking and stamping on a Universidad de Chile banner after the Superclásico between the teams on Sunday. It rules him out of the remaining matches in the Clausura.