Published on April 30th, 2014 | by John Lyons0
Unión bid to reach Libertadores last eight
Unión Española seek to reach the quarter-finals of the Copa Libertadores for the first time in 20 years when they meet Arsenal de Sarandí at Santa Laura tonight (6.30pm).
Independencia – The rojos earned an excellent 0-0 draw in the first leg in Argentina last week and will fancy their chances of matching the achievement from 1994, when they lost to Sao Paulo in the last eight.
Unión come into the game well rested after boss José Luis Sierra, who played for the rojos in ’94, fielded an alternative team for Sunday´s 2-0 Clausura loss at Cobresal.
Much of the emphasis tonight will be on Unión’s experienced striker Gustavo Canales, who has been named in Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli´s initial domestic World Cup list.
Canales has netted some crucial goals in Unión’s Libertadores campaign and will want to prove that he should be on the plane to Brazil for the World Cup in June.
Although Unión earned a draw last week, they know that it won’t be easy to turn over Martín Palermo’s men tonight – and that conceding an away goal would make their challenge much more difficult. It means patience will be the name of the game.
Veteran Unión midfielder Diego Scotti said: “We got a good result at their place, but we have to make it count at home. We have to be intelligent, concentrated and organised, we can’t go crazy.”
If Unión win tonight, they will meet Nacional in the quarter-finals. The Paraguayans pulled off a shock by drawing 2-2 at Vélez Sarsfield last night, triumphing 3-2 on aggregate against the Argentinian side.
Meanwhile, the domestic play-offs, for a place in the Copa Sudamericana, begin this afternoon. Cobresal host Universidad de Concepción (4pm), while Cobreloa entertain Palestino (7.30pm). The second legs are on Sunday.