LA PAZ – Bolivian club Jorge Wilstermann drew 0-0 at home with Argentine giants Boca Juniors on Tuesday in a Group G match on the opening day of the 2019 Copa Libertadores.
Wilstermann started the match well at their home ground in Cochabamba, situated at an altitude of 2,600 meters (8,500 feet), surprising their opponents with some medium-range shots by Cristian Chavez and Ariel Nuñez.
The visitors settled down after some initial hiccups and dominated the game in the midfield, forcing the hosts to pull back to block their attacks.
In the 20th minute, the Argentines wanted a penalty when Wilstermann defender Alex Silva tackled Agustin Almendra in the box but those appeals were denied by the referee.
The hosts were mainly focused on defense, but did also threaten the Boca goal, manned by Esteban Andrada, on a few occasions with impressive attacks by Serginho and Chavez.
A 34th minute header by Lucas Gaucho and a free kick in the final moments of the first half added to Wilstermann’s attempts to breach the Boca goal and break the deadlock The hosts looked to take the lead in the second half with some rare attacking play, but Fernando Saucedo sent his shot wide of the target the 51st minute.
Wilstermann soon resumed their cautious approach and retreated back into their closed ranks in defense to wait for Boca to make the first mistake.
The host’s most dangerous attack came in the 65th minute, when Chavez broke through Boca ranks and the Argentines had to block three back-to-back shots by the Bolivians.
In the 82nd minute, Boca mounted a counterattack but Nahitan Nandez ended up shooting wide despite facing an almost empty goal, ensuring the match would end deadlocked.
“It was a very difficult stadium and we did not know how to manage the game well. (...) We need to keep improving,” veteran Boca Juniors forward Carlos Tevez said after the match.
Wilstermann will visit Brazil’s Atletico Paranaense on March 14 for their next Copa Libertadores outing, while Boca will host Colombian Club Tolima – who beat Paranaense in another Group G match on Tuesday – on March 12.