Colo Colo, Copa Sudamericana Finalists
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Colo Colo, Copa Sudamericana Finalists

copa-sudamericana-logo.jpgIn a thrilling second-leg, Colo Colo defeated Toluca 2 - 0 on the night, 4 - 1 aggregate to advance to the Copa Sudamericana Finals.

The Chilean side started strong and looked to have taken the lead when Alexis Sanchez found himself one-on-one with keeper Hernan Cristante. The speedy forward easily fired home, but was errantly ruled offside to keep the score at zero.

Despite the defensive lapse, Toluca was having the better of it, but it would be another defensive error in the 15th minute that would put Colo Colo up.

When Sanchez made a brilliant run through the Toluca defense, Cristante mistakingly left his line. Sanchez picked out Matias Fernandez at the top of the box and the red-hot midfielder snapped off a deadly strike for the 1 - 0 Colo Colo lead.

Toluca went right back to work, but still couldn't find the breakthrough.

And it seemed certain the Mexican-side would score during a frenetic spell that started in the 32nd minute.

Antonio Sinha made a wonderful run through the Colo Colo defense only to fire straight at keeper Sebastian Cejas from point-blank range.

Colo Colo's Sanchez would miss the far post by inches just seconds later, but it would be Toluca again that would come agonizingly closer.

In the 37th, Bruno Marioni's free kick hit the inside of the post and caromed back out to Vincente Sanchez. With the goal at his mercy, Sanchez took a touch. The split second was enough for midfielder Alvaro Ormeno to brilliantly recover, and two spectacular opportunities to equalize went begging.

But Toluca wouldn't let up, and just seconds before the break Cejas would have to make a brilliant save to preserve the lead. Humberto Suazo would almost counter immediately, but it still seemed as though Colo Colo were saved by the bell when the halftime whistle blew.

The Chilean-side looked to slow things down in the second half and the strategy was working. Toluca couldn't find their first-half flow as Colo Colo seemed content to play the counter.

Any hope that the home-side might provide a dramatic finish was lost for good in the 59th.

Just as Colo Colo manager Claudio Borghi looked to pack things in, when he subbed-off forward Sanchez for midfielder Moises Villarroel, Fernandez was about to make any strategy academic.

Colo Colo's Sanchez had earned a free kick that was almost directly lined up with the post, 35 yards from goal. After the substitution, Fernandez cooly stepped up and curled a spectacular shot over the wall. Cristante was rooted to the spot as the ball sailed just inside the post and in. So perfectly placed was the shot, that it appeared to graze the side netting on its way in.

To Toluca's credit, they fought on for the remaining 30 minutes, even though the impossible task of scoring four goals lay in front of them.

Tempers boiled over in the 90th and wisely, no extra time was played.

Toluca will be left to rue missed opportunities, as they spent large portions of both legs in control. But even though they suffered from poor finishing, it was surely Fernandez' heroics that was their undoing.

For Colo Colo, it is a date in the Finals.

A fitting finish for the "scoring machine" who have played brilliantly throughout the tournament. They become the first team from Chile to make it all the way to the Copa Sudamericana Finals.

Match Highlights 3:05 (new window)
YouTube Video - Goal 1 (new window)
YouTube Video - Goal 2 (new window)

CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana Official Site - English (new window)

CONMEBOL Copa Sudamericana Official Site - EspaƱol (new window)

Pachuca, Copa Sudamericana Finalists
Colo Colo 2 - 1 Toluca, Copa Sudamericana Semifinal First Leg
Paranaense 0 - 1 Pachuca, Copa Sudamericana Semifinal First Leg

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