SAO PAULO – Paraguayan club Libertad stunned Brazilian team Gremio with a 1-0 victory at the Arena do Gremio in Brazil on Tuesday night that sees the Paraguayans go top of Copa Libertadores Group H.
The win maintained Libertad’s 100 percent record in the Copa group stages this season after its 4-1 victory against Universidad Catolica last week.
The Asuncion-based club, coached by Argentina’s Jose Chamot, was able to keep Gremio at bay during a first half when the Brazilians will feel they should have scored, having created numerous chances.
But it was Libertad that broke the deadlock when Antonio Bareiro finished off a counterattack with a tidy right-footed finish at the near post in injury time of the first half.
The Brazilians were largely restricted to long-range shots, but they were either off target or failed to trouble Martin Silva in the Libertad goal.
As time ticked away, Libertad withdrew further into its own territory, but the hosts were unable to break down the Paraguayan defense.
Libertad goalkeeper Silva’s saves in the second half prevented an equalizer by the 2017 champions, who were left to rue their forwards’ lack of ruthlessness and composure in front of goal, issues which were highlighted during their 1-1 draw in Argentina last week against Rosario Central.
They peppered the Paraguayan goal with shots throughout the second half, but rarely looked likely to make the net bulge.
Striker Andre had probably the clearest chance for the home team, but he headed over the bar from less than three meters out with goalkeeper Silva helpless.
Everton and Luan, two of the most promising young players in South America, were particularly disappointing as Gremio slipped to a shocking home defeat against the Paraguayan minnows, who now lead Group H with six points.
Gremio and Rosario Central, on one point each, follow in second, although the Argentine club is set to play bottom-placed Universidad Catolica of Chile on Wednesday.
River Plate, the defending champions of the Copa Libertadores, will take on Palestino on Thursday hoping to secure its first win of the competition.