Guadalajara close in on Libertadores place
SANTIAGO, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Mexico's Guadalajara moved closer to a berth in South America's Libertadores Cup by beating Chilean club Colo Colo 3-1 away in the preliminary round.
Making nonsense of the club's poor domestic form, the Chivas romped home with a brace of goals by striker Omar Bravo and a penalty by Roman Morales in Tuesday's first-leg match.
The introduction of a preliminary round this year has left several of the region's biggest clubs, including 1991 champions Colo Colo and Argentina's River Plate, winners in 1986 and 1996, facing two-leg qualifying matches to compete in the tournament proper.
Colo Colo applied early pressure, spearheaded by Humberto Suazo and Hector Mancilla, but Guadalajara, known for a policy of contracting only Mexican players, began to dominate as the first half reached its mid-point.
Bravo broke the deadlock on 35 minutes when he helped home a header by Sergio Santana following a corner kick. Morales followed up with his spot kick, awarded when Santana was fouled a minute before the interval.
Midfielder Matias Fernandez reduced the deficit on 49 minutes, scoring with a low cross-shot.
Bravo silenced the 40,000-strong home crowd by polishing off a thrusting counter-attacking move on 55 minutes.
The second leg between the two clubs will be played next week in Guadalajara with the winners joining title holders Sao Paulo, Caracas FC and Peru's Cienciano in Group One.
In the other preliminary game played on Tuesday, Peru's Universitario earned a 2-2 draw at Paraguayan club Nacional.
All four goals were scored in a frenetic second half in which Universitario gifted Nacional with two own-goals and Jose Moisela scored for both teams.
Peruvian defender German Centurion diverted a shot into his own goal on 62 minutes to give Colo Colo the lead, but Moisela equalised two minutes later with a powerful long-range shot.
Moisela had barely finished celebrating when his attempts to control a loose ball resulted in another own-goal.
Universitario applied intense pressure in the dying minutes and Argentine striker Gaston Sangoy gave his team a well-earned draw with a goal scored after two minutes of stoppage time
The winners will enter Group Five alongside Ecuador's Liga de Quito, Uruguayan club Rocha and Argentina's Velez Sarsfield, the champions in 1994.