(ESPN.com services) – At the National Stadium in Lima, Sporting Cristal beat Arsenal de Sarandí 2-1. The match was refereed by the Ecuadorian Guillermo Guerrero and the VAR was the protagonist, in this first leg of the round of 16 of the South American Cup.
The match started with everything and had a corner kick in favor of Arsenal, where there was no danger for the locals, but Horacio Calcaterra suffered an involuntary header from Gastón Suso. The Peruvian defender was hit on the floor. He left the field of play to be treated, but then re-entered.
The visitor continued to search and after 8 minutes Lucas Albertengo forced the demand of goalkeeper Alejandro Duarte after a right hand shot. Three minutes later Sergio Rondina’s team had another one with a header from Leonel Picco that passed close by.
But after 20 minutes the locals responded with a corner kick from Alejandro Hohberg that was cleared by goalkeeper Alejandro Medina.
In the last quarter of an hour of the initial stage, the match entered a plateau where both teams reached the middle of the court, but failed to generate danger in the opponent’s areas.
At the beginning of the complement there was a goal annulled to the whole of the Viaduct. It was at 47 minutes after a corner kick where the judge understood that Gastón Suso, who sent the ball to the net after a header, committed an infraction to Omar Merlo. Before receiving the ball the two players struggled and in one of the shots in the repetitions it is noticed that the Arsenal footballer pushes the host.
Four minutes later those led by Rondina had another with a shot from outside the area by Nicolás Castro that passed near the right post.
As it happened at the start of the match, Arsenal took the initiative and this was replicated at the beginning of the second half. However, as the minutes passed, the Incas regained control and began to approach the visitor’s field.
At 66 minutes Arsenal had two plays in which they generated anxiety in the Peruvian area, first with a shot from outside the area and then with a deflection in one of their teammates who came to clear.
Five minutes later, the visitor made a free kick at the exit through Nicolás Mazzola, although he had to wait more than two minutes to celebrate, since the referee, at the request of the VAR, analyzed the play for an alleged offside position from the Arsenal forward. After studying the issue, he decided to validate the goal.
Then the Peruvians went to seek equality and, at 81 minutes, after a corner kick they claimed a hand from Nicolás Castro, who touched the ball with that member, but after lowering the ball and the judge considered that it was involuntary and who did not want to take advantage of the play. The referee understood that there was no unnatural position because his arms were not raised.
However, later the referee considered that there was a penalty in another play where Gastón Suso came to brush the ball with his right arm in a clearance. From the twelve steps Alejandro Hohberg equaled.
After the draw the locals went for everything and Hohberg himself, who dribbled two rivals, entered the area and his shot went up.
With the delays due to the VAR analysis, the judge added eight minutes and in the epilogue, Hohberg appeared again to put Cristal ahead and give him the final victory.
Arsenal deserved to have taken at least one point from Lima and will now have to overcome the series in Sarandí next Wednesday. If you repeat the overall performance you showed tonight, you can have hope of fighting for the qualification to the Copa Sudamericana quarterfinals.