South American Futbol - Libertadores, Sudamericana, World Cup 2010

Penarol is held by Nacional in a close match in Uruguay

In the much-awaited Uruguayan Clasico on Sunday, Nacional frustratingly held recently crowned Clausura winners Penarol to a scoreless draw. Despite a 65,000-person stadium capacity, neither team was able to defeat the other and had to settle for a split of the spoils. Nacional’s point brought an end to Penarol’s 12-match winning streak.

Both teams produced clear-cut opportunities to score goals throughout the first half’s brisk tempo of play. Penarol were able to play their usual brand of soccer despite the rain and the challenging playing surface, pressing forward in big numbers in pursuit of the first goal.

However, Nacional’s defense was incredibly strong, and even though they handled everything Penarol threw at them, they always appeared to be a threat when they advanced to launch an assault.

Maximiliano Calzada’s pass to Sergio Blanco in the 17th minute gave Los Tricolores a chance to take the lead, but Blanco was stopped by Sebastian Sosa in goal for Penarol.

Jonathan Urretaviscaya, a midfielder for Penarol, responded, but his powerful shot hit the post.

The championship’s top scorer, Antonio Pacheco, made every effort to overcome the Nacional defense, but his forceful approach had little effect.

Unfortunately for the large crowd, neither team was able to play with the requisite grit to win in the second half, which was a ghost of the first.

Instead, there was a fierce midfield duel, which is characteristic of matches between the two teams. However, even though both managers changed their tactics to win the game, neither team on this occasion exerted enough pressure to threaten the opposition’s goal.

Penarol, who defeated Fenix to win the Clausura championship last weekend, haven’t triumphed against their longtime foes since 2008.

Nacional will now concentrate on their next Wednesday night Copa Libertadores match against Morelia of Mexico. Nacional will advance to the competition’s round of 16 stages with a win.



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