GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador – Ecuador’s Barcelona FC was eliminated from the Copa Libertadores second round on Tuesday despite beating Uruguay’s Defensor Sporting 1-0 on a night of torrential rain at the Estadio Monumental Isidro Romero Carbo.
The Ecuadorians could not overturn a three-goal deficit from the first leg, as Defensor advance to the third round of the competition.
Although the first leg had ended in a 2-1 away win for Barcelona SC, a three-goal deficit was imposed by the continent’s soccer authority Conmebol as a punishment for the Ecuadorian club playing midfielder Sebastian Perez, who was allegedly ineligible as his registration was only finalized after the Copa Libertadores deadline.
Barcelona SC has said it will appeal the ruling, blaming the Ecuadorian Football Federation for the delay in processing the player’s transfer documents.
A Conmebol committee agreed with Defensor’s appeal, and awarded the Uruguayan side the three points and a three-goal lead.
With that cushion, Defensor sat back and controlled the game, remaining organized defensively and stopping Barcelona’s advances down the wings.
The Ecuadorians were up against it, and they allowed nerves and tension to creep into their game, as they failed to create any clear chances and were hampered by tame or wayward finishing.
Matias Oyola, in for the controversially missing Perez, scored the game’s only goal shortly before half time, calmly gathering a loose ball that had been only partially cleared by the Defensor goalkeeper before lifting a curling effort into the empty net from the outside the penalty area.
Barcelona SC pressed forward in the second half, but could not break through Defensor’s impressive rearguard.
As time trickled away and the missed chances piled up, hope slowly drained from the home team and its fans, and Barcelona SC slipped tamely out of the competition, although the manner of their elimination after Conmebol’s ruling will be difficult to swallow, after their first leg victory away in Montevideo was overruled by a tribunal.
In the meantime, however, the Uruguayans advance to the third round, where they will face Brazil’s Atletico Mineiro, who beat Danubio.