Despite a promising group stage it has proved to be another disappointing year in the Copa Libertadores for Mexican sides as both representatives, Santos Laguna and León have fallen in the round of 16. Santos were convincingly beaten by Argentine outfit, Lanús over both legs while León were eliminated on away goals after a 1-1 draw in La Paz following the 2-2 draw in León last week. Lanús and Bolivar were always likely to provide stern tests but with both sides having significantly smaller budgets it is a bitter blow to Mexican football.
Santos were still in the tie after their 2-1 defeat last week in Buenos Aires but were undone at home by a superior Lanús side. Goals from Ismael Blanco and Paolo Goltz gave the Argentines a 4-1 aggregate win and set up a Quarter Final tie against León’s victors, Bolivar.
León were always going to find it difficult having drawn 2-2 in México as an away trip to the altitude of La Paz in midweek is never an easy task and despite a spirited performance it proved too much. Franco Arizala gave León the perfect start when he headed in Fernando Navarro’s cross but Bolivar’s Spanish infused side began to grow into the match. With the pressure increasing, Ronald Eguino grabbed the crucial equaliser, stabbing the ball past William Yarbrough.
León were unable to find another goal and when captain, Rafa Márquez was sent off with around 15 minutes remaining the tie was over. Bolivar will face Lanús in the Quarter Final in the first week of May.
Santos Laguna 0 – 2 Lanús
Bolivar 1 – 1 León