Libertad, America, Parana advance

Paraguay's Libertad, Mexico's America and Brazil's Parana qualified for the knockout round of the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday.

updated: April 20, 2007 08:13 IST
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Beunos Aires:

Paraguay's Libertad, Mexico's America and Brazil's Parana qualified for the knockout round of the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday.

Libertad and America claimed the two berths in Group 1, and Parana completed a Brazilian sweep in Group 5.

Also, Brazil's Sao Paulo topped Peru's Alianza Lima 1-0 to grab a share of the lead in Group 2, and Flamengo eliminated Bolivia's Real Potosi 1-0 to finish Group 5 unbeaten.

Substitute Vladimir Marin scored off a second-half free kick for Libertad to pip Banfield 1-0 before about 20,000 mostly somber Banfield fans at Florencio Sola Stadium.

Banfield, which would have advanced with a victory, squandered a first-half chance when Josemir Lujambio hit wide on a penalty kick.

With victory, Libertad won Group 1 with 13 points, one more than America. Banfield was third with nine points.

America rallied to beat Ecuador's El Nacional 2-1 with goals from Salvador Cabanas and Santiago Fernandez in Mexico City.

Walter Ayovi scored for El Nacional in the 17th minute, and America leveled in the 31st when Cuauhtemoc Blanco dribbled down the wing and passed to Paraguayan Cabanas, who headed it in.

In the 66th, Cabanas lobbed the ball from halfway to the penalty area and Fernandez kicked it away from the goalkeeper's fingers into the net.

Parana edged Union Maracaibo of Venezuela 2-1 to end the group phase with nine points, three ahead of Bolivia's Real Potosi, which lost to group winner Flamengo 1-0 and was eliminated.

Egidio scored for Parana in the seventh minute, taking a pinpoint pass from Dinelson, dribbling past his defender and firing home at Curitiba.

Seven minutes later, Beto made it 2-0 on a free kick.

The Venezuelans surprised Parana in the 70th when Julio Machado recovered the ball at the top of the goal area and fired hard to make it 2-1.

Flamengo, a five-time Brazilian champion, dominated Group 5 and won five of six games.

Souza scored in the 13th minute, racing in to tap home a cross from Juan against Real Potosi in Rio de Janeiro.

Real Potosi gave Flamengo its only stumble, a 2-2 draw in the thin air of the Andes - which Flamengo was eager to avoid again in the knockout round.

In Lima, Sao Paulo topped Alianza Lima 1-0 and tied Chile's Audax Italiano for the lead in Group 2.

Sao Paulo and Audax have 10 points each, and will meet in Brazil on April 24, when the winner will advance to the second round.

Third-placed Necaxa of Mexico will face last-place Alianza Lima in Aguascalientes, also with a chance to advance.

A 46th-minute goal by Borges was all it took to defeat Alianza Lima in a slow match at Alejandro Villanueva Stadium.

Alianza Lima remained winless through five group matches.