Libertadores: Sanchez hat-trick revives Colo Colo
RIO DE JANEIRO, March 21 (Reuters) - Chilean champions Colo Colo picked up their first points in the Libertadores Cup by thrashing Group Six leaders Caracas FC 4-0 away thanks to a hat-trick from 18-year-old striker Alexis Sanchez.
The result of Tuesday night's match left Group Six wide open at the halfway mark after the Venezuelan team's 100 percent record was ended in emphatic style.
Caracas FC, the first Venezuelan side to win in Argentina in the competition's history when they stunned River Plate 1-0 in the previous round, remain top with six points from three games.
LDU and River Plate have four each and Colo Colo, who play two of their remaining three games at home, have three.
Caracas were ordered to play away from their Brigido Iriate stadium because its capacity is below the 20,000 minimum allowed for group stage matches.
The club chose to play in the Colombian border town of Cucuta where a crowd of only 5,000 saw the game.
The outcome could have been very different but Cesar Gonzalez and Alejandro Guerra wasted gilt-edged chances in a lively start by the Venezuelans.
Sanchez made them pay in the 20th minute when he scored from the edge of the penalty area with a swerving shot which goalkeeper Javier Toyo appeared to think was going wide.
Paraguayan Edison Gimenez hooked home the second goal six minutes later as the visitors made light of the absence of Arturo Sanhueza and Humberto Suazo, who have been called up by Chile for Saturday's friendly against Brazil in Sweden.
Sanchez struck again from the edge of the area in the 58th minute and flicked home Rodrigo Millar's pass in the 87th.
Paraguay's Cerro Porteno won for the first time in Group Three with a 2-1 victory after recovering to beat Colombian champions Cucuta, who remain winless after four outings.
Panama's Blas Perez put Cucuta ahead with a penalty 10 minutes before halftime.
The Cyclone, playing in Ciudad del Este after being banned from playing at their stadium in Asuncion for two matches after crowd trouble, equalised in the 51st minute when Cesar Ramirez eluded two defenders and chipped the ball over Robinson Zapata.
Alejandro da Silva scored on the turn 15 minutes later to leave his side third in the group with four points, behind Brazil's Gremio on goal difference. Deportes Tolima of Colombia lead with seven points while Cucuta are last with three.
Real Potosi of Bolivia and UA Maracaibo of Venezuela saw their chances fade in Group Five after drawing 2-2 at Real's Mario Mercado stadium nearly 4,000 metres above sea level.
Real led twice with first-half goals by Brazilian-born Edu Monteiro, the first a penalty, but Cristian Casseres and Colombian Orlando Ballesteros replied for the visitors.
Real stayed third with three points from four games and Maracaibo are last with two. Brazilian pair Flamengo (seven points) and Parana (six), who meet in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, appear set to progress from the group.