World Soccer - - Eye Witness -

All the teams from Bo­livia, Chile and Peru had been knocked out in the group phase. Venezuela and Paraguay were left with­out rep­re­sen­ta­tion after the sec­ond round, which also whit­tled down the con­tin­gent from Brazil and Ar­gentina. The big two had 9 of the last 16 teams – five of them failed to make it through to the quar­ter-fi­nals.

The most stun­ning elim­i­na­tion was that of reign­ing cham­pi­ons River Plate, beaten 2-1 on ag­gre­gate by In­de­pen­di­ente del Valle after they had given ev­i­dence of their re­silience by draw­ing 0-0 away to Colo Colo of Chile to get out of the group phase.

They had to dig deep once more in the quar­ter-fi­nals against Pu­mas of mex­ico. Away from home in the sec­ond leg they were down to 10 men when they needed a goal to force penal­ties. Sornoza scored from a free kick, and they came flaw­lessly through the shoot-out.

All the quar­ter-fi­nals were tight. In the all-Brazil­ian af­fair, Sao Paulo beat Atletico mineiro on away goals. Boca and Na­cional of Uruguay also went to penal­ties – with the Uruguayans in the driv­ing seat un­til they missed three in a row.

And it was in the quar­ter-fi­nals that the even­tual cham­pi­ons had their big scare. Rueda picked a strange team, start­ing with three cen­tre-backs as Atletico Na­cional went down 1-0 away to Rosario Cen­tral of Ar­gentina, their only de­feat of the cam­paign. An early – per­haps harsh – penalty scored by Cen­tral’s marco Ruben in medellin then left Na­cional needing to score three times.

Two came ei­ther side of half time, but Cen­tral tight­ened up in mid­field. In fact, they went too far.

Eduardo Coudet’s team had played some splen­did foot­ball in the com­pe­ti­tion, but now they be­trayed their iden­tity, over­do­ing the time wast­ing and pay­ing the price when or­lando Ber­rio – in­tro­duced soon after the half hour with Na­cional des­per­ately seek­ing goals – swept home the de­ci­sive strike in the sixth minute of stop­page time.

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