Sharp-shooting Bonet earns Libertad draw
BUENOS AIRES, May 11 (Reuters) - Midfielder Carlos Bonet scored two sweetly struck goals to give Paraguayan outsiders Libertad a precious 2-2 draw away to River Plate in the first leg of their Libertadores Cup quarter-final on Thursday.
Three of the goals came in a five-minute spell late in the game as River, who eliminated favourites Corinthians of Brazil in the previous round, twice came from behind.
The Argentines, champions in 1986 and 1996, hit the woodwork four times and forced three saves from Libertad goalkeeper Aldo Bobadilla as they took a stranglehold on the first half.
Peruvian defender Martin Hidalgo missed an early chance for the visitors before River took control.
Paulo Ferrari thumped a long-range shot against the crossbar and Jonathan Santana hit the post before the 10th minute.
Bobadilla sprang into action as he turned away headers from Gonzalo Higuain and Ernesto Farias, then Farias and Ferrari struck the post in the same attack.
Although a River goal looked inevitable, it was Libertad who went ahead.
A long, crossfield pass found Bonet and the Paraguay international scored with a crunching volley which thumped against the underside of the crossbar and flew into the net.
Two minutes later, Cristian Riveros was denied a second by goalkeeper German Lux before a disbelieving crowd.
Libertad, who conceded only three goals in their previous eight games in the tournament, frustrated River for most of the second half until a dramatic finale.
Substitute Daniel Montenegro equalised in the 77th minute, volleying home from outside the area with a shot which went in off the post.
But less than a minute later, Libertad regained the lead.
Bonet was left unmarked on the right of the River area in a similar position from where he scored the first goal and this time he beat Lux with a clever, looping shot.
River replied again in the 82nd minute when Montenegro mishit a shot, catching Bobadilla off guard and allowing Farias to head in from close range.
River had Lucas Pusineri sent off for a karate kick on Bobadilla as they two went for the ball and the goalkeeper produced another fine save to deny Marcelo Gallardo an injury-time winner.