Lima: Three first half goals against Peru's Sporting Cristal were enough for Boca Juniors of Argentina to book its place in the final 16 of the Copa Libertadores competition. Copa Libertadores is South America's equivalent of the UEFA Champions League. With Wednesday's 3-0 victory, the Buenos Aires club moved to the top of Group-8 with 10-points from five matches, followed by Cristal with 7 points, Pachuca with 6 and Cuenca with 2. Winner of three of the past five Libertadores, Boca needed a win to close in on a berth in the round of 16 - and match the achievement of arch rival River Plate, undefeated with the best record in the Libertadores. Pablo Ledesma opened the scoring for Boca in the 11th minute, taking advantage of a ball blocked by goalkeeper Erick Delgado that he then kicked from the left side for a goal. Marcelo Delgado followed in the 28th minute with a long shot that deflected off one of Cristal's defenders into the net. Five minutes later, Cristal had three opportunities to score in a single sequence after playmaker Jorge Soto set-up Amilton Prado. Boca effectively sealed the tie two minutes from half-time when Martin Palermo scored his third goal of the 2005 Copa Liberatadores with a well-struck header that left Sporting Cristal's goalie, Erick Delgado, with no chance to react. Not unexpectedly, Boca adopted a defensive posture in the second half. But fifteen-minutes from full-time, Sporting Cristal almost pegged one back when substitute Rainer Torres' pin-point cross was all but headed home by striker Luis Bonnet - only for Abbondanzierl to make one more brilliant save and keep a clean sheet for the visitors.
Topics : Football