Velez Sarsfield kept their Libertadores hopes alive with a tight victory over spirited Chileans Union, and leapfrog the side in the race to make the last 16. The excellent Santiago Silva made the difference, as he set up the first strike for the Fortin before hitting the winner in the second half.
Velez started the game in a positive fashion, and took the lead after 24 minutes when central defender Emiliano Papa converted after good work from Santiago Silva. The Chileans would not give up however as they sought to advance their claim for the last 16, and Leandro Delgado headed home from close-range to level the game as the two sides went in for half time.
The Fortin stepped up the pressure after the break in the knowledge that a point was not good enough in their quest to continue in the Copa. Victor Zapata and Juan Manuel Martinez both shot wide from range early in the half, while at the other end goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero only just avoided catastrophe by clearing wildly, after being caught in possession dithering.
The Argentines' hopes received a massive boost with 20 minutes to go, when Silva was left with a simple close-range header and made no mistake for 2-1. Ricardo Gareca's men had enough to hold on and secure a win, and draw level second with Caracas F.C with two games to play. Universidad Catolica still occupy the top spot with a one point advantage, while Española drop to fourth place with a total of four.
Group 2: Oriente Petrolero 2-0 Leon de Huanuco
Oriente Petrolero finally recorded their first points of the 2011 Copa Libertadores, stemming a run of four consecutive defeats by taking down Peruvians Leon in Santa Cruz.
The Bolivians went into Thursday's clash knowing that they had no chance of making the last 16, while Leon needed a win to keep their slim hopes of overcoming Gremio in second place alive. It was the home side however who dictated the flow of the game, and Alcides Peña gave his team the lead in the 16th minute when he converted Jhasmani Campos' fine pass.
The visitors could not raise their game, and would have found themselves further were it not for a string of fine saves from Juan Flores. The result however was sealed 13 minutes from time, when Campos added to his assist with a goal of his own.
The defeat means that Gremio will confirm their place in the second round with one further point from their last two outings, while Oriente ensured they will exit the tournament with their heads held high.