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Penarol and Union into Copa

Last year's finalists Penarol and Chilean side Union Espanola qualified for the Copa Libertadores' group stage after winning their ties on Thursday.

In Venezuela, Uruguayan giants Penarol had no troubles to seal their place against Caracas. After winning 4-0 at home, they drew 1-1 in the second leg to enter the tournament outright.

Despite the difference from the first game, Penarol did not rely on defensive play and created plenty of chances.

Marcelo Zalayeta set up Fabian Estoyanoff for the opener but in the second half Penarol slowed down, allowing Caracas possession. The Venezuelans failed to create clear chances though, but in the 78th minute Edwin Peraza equalised with a header after a cross.

That was as good as it got, however.

"We wanted to win, but we reached our target of qualifying to the group stage, so we're very happy," said Estoyanoff.

"We will now face a very tough group. The whole cup is very tough, with the best teams in South America. We have a very good team and we can do well as we did last year."

Penarol will make their first outing in the group stage on February 16th against Argentina's Godoy Cruz, and will later play Colombia's Atletico Nacional and Chile's Universidad de Chile.

Union Espanola produced a big surprise as they recovered from a two-goal deficit against Tigres in Mexico to claim a 2-2 draw and advance to the next stage 3-2 on aggregate.

The Chileans had won 1-0 at home, but that lead quickly disappeared as Alan Pulido scored twice in the first 20 minutes of the match, to put Tigres 2-1 ahead in the tie.

However, in the 36th Gonzalo Barriga entered the box and was felled by central defender Jose Rivas. The Tigres man was sent off and Emmanuel Herrera scored a penalty kick to pull one back.

After the break, the visitors' defender Mauro Diaz saw his second yellow card and subsequent red and seven minutes later Sebastian Jaime hit the equaliser and secured the tie for the Chileans.

Union Espanola will now share Group 3 with compatriots Universidad Catolica, Bolivia's Bolivar and Colombia's Junior.


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