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By ESPN Staff

Arsenal take giant step to qualification

Argentinian side Arsenal de Sarandi enjoyed a promising debut in the Copa Libertadores as they eased past Peru's Sport Huancayo 3-0 in the first leg of the first stage - despite being reduced to ten men.

The winners of the tie will play in Group Four alongside Boca Juniors, Fluminense of Brazil and Venezuela's Zamora as the continent's club championship got under way.

Sport Huancayo were solid in the opening minutes of the match, but the first goal was crucial and set Arsenal on their way to dominating the rest of the match - even though they were reduced to ten men in the second half.

Arsenal took the lead in the 21st minute, when Carlos Carbonero stole the ball close to the box and passed to Jorge Cordoba who beat goalkeeper Sebastian Cuerdo with a right-foot strike.

Emilio Zelaya doubled the lead 15 minutes later and although Carbonero was sent off for fouling Angelo Cruzado, Claudio Mosca made it 3-0 in the 88th minute.

The return match will be played next Tuesday in Huancayo city, which is 3,300metres above sea level.

Cordoba told Fox Sports: "We did our best and claimed a great result. I'm surprised by the strength the team have.

"It is a good lead but we have to go step by step. Playing at high altitude is not easy so we have to pay attention.''

In Guayaquil, Ecuadorian team El Nacional claimed a 1-0 home win over Paraguayan giants Libertad.

Juan-Luis Anangono scored the only goal in the final seconds of the first half with the second leg to come next Tuesday in Asuncion.

The winners will meet Uruguayan giants Nacional, Brazil's Vasco da Gama and Alianza Lima of Peru in Group Five.


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