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By ESPN Staff

La Volpe's Velez thump Danubio in Libertadores

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Velez Sarsfield gave new coach Ricardo La Volpe a winning debut as they thumped 10-man Danubio 3-0 in their preliminary round Libertadores Cup tie on Tuesday.

Teenager Mauro Zarate produced a virtuoso performance for the Argentines as he scored the first goal and provided the passes for the other two while Danubio had veteran Colombian striker Hamilton Ricard sent off before halftime.

La Volpe, who coached Mexico at last year's World Cup, joined Velez following an unhappy four months in charge of their larger neighbours Boca Juniors.

Known for wearing bright ties and smoking on the touchline during his Mexico days, the gruff coach time caught the eye with a pair of resplendent white shoes.

Velez, champions in 1994, went ahead in the 14th minute when Emiliano Papa broke down the left, cut inside a defender and laid the ball off to Zarate who fired past Esteban Conde from 12 metres.

Papa headed against the crossbar 10 minutes later and the Uruguayans were in more trouble five minutes before the break as former Middlesbrough and Colombia striker Ricard was dismissed.

Already booked for a wild karate-style lunge on an opponent, he was given a second yellow card for shirt pulling. Three minutes after halftime, Papa and the 19-year-old Zarate combined down the left to set up Gustavo Balvorin for the second.

In the 74th minute, Zarate burst down the left wing and crossed to the far post where Maximiliano Pellegrino outjumped the defence to head the third and give Velez a comfortable lead ahead of next Tuesday's return leg in Montevideo.

Colombian provincial side Deportes Tolima came from behind to beat Venezuela's Deportivo Tachira 2-1 in the evening's other game.

Striker Ruberth Moran broke down the left and scored with a shot which slipped between goalkeeper Agustin Julio's legs to give Tachira the lead in the 37th minute.

Jorge Perlaza headed the equaliser from Gerrardo Vallejo's cross one minute before the break and midfielder John Charria scored the winner from a penalty in the 77th minute.