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By ESPN Staff
Dec 9, 2011

Universidad take control of final

Universidad de Chile took a huge step towards winning their first continental title as they beat Ecuador's Liga Universitaria 1-0 away from home in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final.

Eduardo Vargas got the goal two minutes before half-time to leave Universidad holding all the aces ahead of next week's second leg.

Despite needing to adapt to the challenging conditions of Quito, 2859 metres above sea level, Universidad did not change their pressing style, leaving the hosts to play a long-ball game that the visiting defence comfortably handled.

Instead, it was the visitors who had the better chances, with Matias Rodriguez heading wide after only three minutes before Albert Acevedo also nodded just off target.

Universidad goalkeeper Johnny Herrera made an unorthodox save to keep out Liga's first clear chance, using his face to keep out Neicer Reasco's shot.

It was the start of the hosts' best spell, with Hernan Barcos shooting just over moments later before Claudio Bieler looked to have beaten Herrera only to see his effort go wide.

Ezequiel Gonzalez then crossed for Barcos in a great position, but his got his shot all wrong.

And Universidad punished them as they went up the other end for Marcelo Diaz to tee up Vargas to slot home.

Universidad began the second half brightly too, with Charles Aranguiz denied by goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez before Gustavo Canales headed wide.

A defensive mistake then handed Liga a great chance as Herrera's clearance went straight to Barcos, but his left-footed shot was too high.

There were late chances for the hosts to snatch an equaliser, the best of them coming with 10 minutes to go when Jose Rojas had to hook Paul Ambrosi's header off the line with Herrera beaten, before Jorge Guagua fluffed his lines when Gonzalez sent in a good cross. However, Universidad clung on to claim a valuable win.

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