BUENOS AIRES – Talleres Cordoba soundly beat Sao Paulo 2-0 in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores second-round matchup at the Mario Alberto Kempes stadium on Wednesday.
In their first appearance in South America’s premier tournament in 17 years, the Argentine club from Cordoba prevailed thanks to second-half goals from Juan Ramirez and Tomas Pochettino.
Sao Paulo, which has won the Copa Libertadores tournament three times, will have to win by three clear goals in the second leg, which will be held on Feb. 13, if it wants to advance to the third round.
The winner of the tie will play either Chile’s Palestino or Colombia’s Independiente Medellin for a place in Group A, which has Argentina’s River Plate, Brazil’s Internacional and Peru Alianza Lima.
The match was evenly poised during the first half, with the home team having the better possession.
Both teams managed a pair of efforts on goal, but failed to break the deadlock.
In the 57th minute, up stepped Juan Ramirez, who hit a fierce shot that flew into the top right corner that left goalkeeper Tiago Volpi with no chance to open the scoring.
The visiting Brazilians tried to fight back to salvage a draw the match with Diego Souza leading the attack, but Hudson’s sending off in the 81st minute made it even more difficult for the visitors to level.
Talleres then extended its lead in the 87th minute after a great team move which ended with a low drive from the edge of the box by Tomas Pochettino.
The Cordobans, who are struggling in 12th place in the league on 22 points, 20 behind leader Racing Club, will focus their attention on the Copa Libertadores as their only likely chance of winning silverware this season.
The only other time Talleres took part in Copa Libertadores was in 2002, when it was eliminated in the group stage.
Sao Paulo, which came to competition as Group D leaders of the Campeonato Paulista, will have to fight back in the game at home to remain alive in the tournament.