GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador – Caracas managed a laborious 1-1 draw against Delfin in their Copa Libertadores game at Jocay Stadium in Manta on Wednesday, keeping alive its hopes of reaching the tournament’s third stage of qualification.
Forward Carlos Garces helped the hosts pull ahead with a goal from the penalty spot in the 20th minute, but Bernardo Añor leveled the score with a goal in the 34th minute.
In addition to tying the game, the visitor’s goal will also have great significance for the home game in Caracas.
The Venezuelan team stayed true to its coach San Clemente’s proposal of keeping up the attack, to which Delfin responded with an organized defense led by the Paraguayan Williams Riveros.
A good pass by Argentine midfielder Sergio Lopez brought Garces head-to-head with defender Rosmel Villanueva, who pushed the striker inside the box, causing Colombian referee Nicolas Gallo to award a penalty that Garces converted into a goal in the 20th minute.
Caracas responded with a powerful long-range shot by Añor, from 25 meters (82 feet), which beat the goalie Pedro Ortiz in the 34th minute to level the score 1-1.
There was another scoring opportunity in the 40th minute when Lopez made a free kick toward the upper right-hand corner of the goal which failed to find the net.
Caracas went into the second half with more purpose to secure a victory, taking advantage of the speed and strength of its attackers and the spaces in the field left by the hosts.
This strategy served to disrupt the game of the locals, who played very differently from other games in the first stage, like when they eliminated Paraguay’s Nacional without complications.
Such was the approach of Caracas that Delfin failed to find any way to attack or break through.
All attempts by the local team’s coach, Argentine Fabian Bustos, to cause variations in the attack to gain a win remained just that, attempts.