South American Futbol - Libertadores, Sudamericana, World Cup 2010

In the Copa Libertadores, Cruzeiro outclassed Nacional

Thiago’s outstanding hat trick helped Cruzeiro win

Cruzeiro defeated Uruguay’s Nacional 3-1 on Thursday night at the Mineirao stadium, advancing them one step closer to the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals. Brazilians dominated the game for the majority of the time, leading by three goals at halftime thanks to Thiago Ribeiro’s outstanding hat trick.

Thiago took advantage of a defensive blunder by Sebastian Coates to score a simple goal between the legs of goalkeeper Rodrigo Munoz and give the Belo Horizonte giants the lead inside the sixth minute.

Before Thiago ultimately doubled Cruzeiro’s lead in the 21st minute with a wonderful header, the Brazilians overpowered the feeble Uruguayans and created many clear-cut scoring opportunities.

Three minutes before halftime, Thiago scored a goal from the outskirts of the box to complete his hat trick as the enthusiastic 50,000 spectators drove their team ahead.

Nacional entered the second half with a very different mindset, and they had a few good chances to score before Mario Regueiro, a striker for Cruzeiro, ultimately did it in the 50th minute with a close-range effort that past Cruzeiro goalkeeper Fabio.

Nacional will advance to the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals with a 2-0 victory over Cruzeiro at the Parque Central stadium in Montevideo next Wednesday, even if it now appears to be a difficult assignment.

In Lima, Diego Rivarola’s goal five minutes from time gave Universidad de Chile a 1-0 victory over Alianza Lima. The Chileans earned a significant victory that should make it easier for them to advance to the competition’s quarterfinals.

At the Palo Grande stadium in Manizales, Colombia, Once Caldas and Libertad’s late-night match on Thursday concluded in a scoreless tie.



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