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By ESPN Staff

Shaky Palmeiras take advantage in Libertadores

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Brazilian club Palmeiras made hard work of beating Venezuela's Deportivo Tachira 2-0 on Wednesday in a preliminary round of the South American Libertadores Cup.

Shaky Palmeiras defending and some questionable refereeing decisions meant the 1999 Libertadores Cup winners were flattered by the scoreline.

Marcinho and Carlos Gamarra got the goals to put the Sao Paulo club in a dominant position ahead of next week's second-leg in Venezuela.

Palmeiras applied good early pressure, but Tachira's Juan Garcia gave the home club a fright by controlling a difficult high ball and shooting powerfully, forcing a good save from Palmeiras goalkeeper Marcos.

Marcinho, who was Palmeiras's best player on the night, broke the deadlock on 20 minutes with a well-struck shot shrouded by strong suspicions of offside.

Tachira squandered two fine chances, both stemming from glaring defensive errors and the visitors had even more cause for complaint when Gionio seemed to foul goalkeeper Leonardo Morales and the ball spilled loose for Carlos Gamarra to push home a simple second goal.

The winner of the preliminary tie will join Argentina's Rosario Central, Colombia's Nacional and Paraguay's Cerro Porteno in Group 7.