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ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

River Plate lose to Independiente in Copa Libertadores title defence

Defending Copa Libertadores champions River Plate exited the competition in the round of 16 at the hands of Independiente del Valle.

River Plate's quest to repeat as Copa Libertadores champions was thwarted by Ecuadorian club Independiente del Valle in the round of 16.

River PlateRiver Plate
Independiente del ValleIndependiente del Valle
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The Argentine club lost to Independiente by a final aggregate score of 2-1, after failing to overcome a two-goal deficit from the first leg in Ecuador.

River dominated possession and shots on goal, but could only find the net once, when substitute Lucas Alario scored from close range to give the hosts a late 1-0 lead in the 79th minute.

A four-goal lead from the...

 By Tim Vickery

Independiente del Valle, Cerro Porteno seek Copa Libertadores surprises

Independiente del Valle celebrating
Independiente del Valle will be looking to take down 2015 champions River Plate in the Copa Libertadores round of 16.

Independiente del Valle are a tiny Ecuadorean team from the outskirts of Quito, the capital city. Their stadium holds little more than 7,000 people, and the club have gone through most of their six decades in considerable obscurity.

In the last few years, though, they have made dramatic strides -- all with a model of administration based on finding and grooming young talent. Jefferson Montero, the winger now at Swansea City, is probably their most famous graduate.

The club are now starting to make...

 By Tim Vickery

Copa Libertadores qualifying rounds bring plenty of drama

Huracan's last-gasp win with 10 men at Caracas was just one notable result in the Copa Lib qualifying round.

The two-week qualifying round has certainly whetted the appetite for the group phase of the Copa Libertadores, which gets underway next Tuesday. The competition lacks much of the quality and polish of its European equivalent, the Champions League. Nevertheless, it remains compulsive viewing and the past fortnight has provided a few reminders.

The Drama

The Caracas pitch was a disgrace for the side from the Venezuelan capital's home game against Huracan of Argentina. The crowd was sparse in Asuncion's...