(EFE) – Defensa y Justicia defeated Bahía 3-2 as a visitor and left their classification to the semifinals of the South American Cup on track in a match in which the VAR and the Ecuadorian referee Guillermo Guerrero reached prominence in at least six controversial decisions.
The second leg will be played on December 16 and the winner of the series will meet in the quarterfinals with the winner of the key between the Colombian Júnior de Barranquilla and the Chilean Coquimbo Unido.
A braian Romero double and a pass from Enzo Fernández sealed the advantage of the Argentine team today, which achieved its second consecutive victory in Brazilian territory, since a week ago it sealed its classification to the round of 16 by defeating in Rio de Janeiro 1-0 to Vasco da Gama.
Gilberto, scorer of the tournament, reached his sixth goal through a penalty. And Matheus closed the gap to leave the first leg at 2-3.
Former Brazilian coach Mano Menezes could not count on goalkeepers Douglas, injured, and Mateus Claus, who just recovered from Covid-19, so the young Ánderson, third goalkeeper, appeared as a starter. Nor could he count on the injured Joao Pedro and Lucas Fonseca, resentful, and the suspended Gregore.
The visitors, led by former Argentine international Hernán Crespo, went ahead after 4 minutes by capitalizing on an error by lateral Juninho Capixaba. The annotation was validated by the VAR.
Fifteen minutes later, after a projection by lateral Nino Paraiba, the scorer ‘Lord Gilberto’ scored a goal that was annulled by the Ecuadorian referee with the support of the VAR.
In the twentieth minute, again the VAR was the protagonist when ratifying a penalty on Walter Bou, who, five minutes after the play and the confirmation, Romero converted for the 0-2.
At 33 minutes, once again the VAR came into play and annulled a penalty in favor of the locals for an alleged hand in the area, but, shortly after, in the 39th minute, it awarded the maximum penalty with which Gilberto discounted.
Before the end of the first half, in another VAR decision, Gilberto wasted another penalty that could mean the tie in the first 45 minutes.
At the beginning of the second half, Gilberto again lost the opportunity to equalize for the homeowners and Héctor Martínez to extend for the view.
Coach Mano Menezes moved several of his chips, without much success, while his Argentine colleague Crespo was right in his first variant and with just two minutes on the pitch, at 67, Fernández extended on a counterattack initiated by Romero.
The second goal for the Brazilian team came at 77 minutes in a combination between Gabriel Novais and Matheus Bahía, who had just entered and scored the 2-3.
The Colombian creative Juan Pablo “El Indio” Ramírez and the experienced midfielder Elías, who entered in the second half, could not “connect” to Bahía, which with the defeat sees them move away from their unprecedented qualification to the semifinal of the tournament.