SAO PAULO – Talleres of Cordoba delivered the first major upset of this year’s Copa Libertadores by eliminating Sao Paulo after to a 0-0 draw in the second leg of their second round at the Morumbi Stadium on Wednesday.
The visiting Argentinians traveled to Brazil defending a two-goal lead from the first leg, and were able to seal the tie with a minimum of fuss.
Sao Paulo appeared out of sorts from the beginning, and never really looked like troubling Talleres.
Their lackluster performance drew boos from the disappointed home support at various stages of a match, which was short on attacking entertainment.
Three-time Copa Libertadores champion Sao Paulo, trailing as it was 2-0 after the first leg, needed to score at least three goals to advance to the competition’s group stages.
Their recent form, however, which has seen them score just once in their last five game, did not bode well.
Sao Paulo’s desperation to get back into the tie as quickly as possible translated to a frantic approach on the pitch, with the home team too often resorting to unimaginative, direct passes which Talleres dealt with easily.
The visiting Argentinians were equally unimaginative going forward but, with two goals to defend, they did not have to take the initiative.
Sao Paulo, unable to string many passes together or fashion any chances of note, was soon succumbing to its frustration.
The players were roundly booed off at half time, and although Sao Paulo improved marginally during the second half, they never looked likely to score the three goals required to advance in the tournament.
Pablo, Evert and Diego Souza all had chances, but could not keep their composure in the clutch moments and ended up fluffing their lines.
Eventually, as the reality of elimination at the hands of a relative minnow set in, Sao Paulo’s Everton recklessly struck Enzo Diaz, catching him in the face with his studs, leaving the referee with no choice but to show the winger a red card.
Talleres, making its first appearance in the Copa Libertadores in 17 years, advances to the third qualifying round to face Chile’s Palestino for a place in Group A, which has Argentina’s River Plate, Brazil’s Internacional and Peru Alianza Lima.