Weekly Round-Up: Independiente del Valle & Colón secure first CONMEBOL Sudamericana Semifinal Spots

Ecuadorian side Independiente del Valle became the first side to seal a spot in the Sudamericana quarterfinals after a 1-0 win over Independiente sent them through on away goals. They were followed by Colón, who downed Zulia 4-0 in Santa Fe on Thursday night.

Going into the night's action, it was certain that the away goal collected by Independiente del Valle last week against Independiente could prove valuable, and as the night went on, that was most certainly the case. In the thin air of Quito, Independiente sought to play compact from the beginning, hoping to hit out on the counter against the Ecuadorians. But this style of play quickly allowed a stream of one-way traffic towards the Independiente goal. 

Martín Campaña in goal made a number of impressive saves to keep Independiente in front on aggregate and the score at 0-0. As the second half wore on and IDV watched chance after chance end without a goal, it started to look as though the Argentines might be able to make a 0-0 stick. 

Finally though, with just over 10 minutes to play, IDV struck. A run down the wing led opened space for a cut-back pass and it was Daniel Nieto who pounced, striking true to put Independiente del Valle in front 1-0. 

From there it was always going to be a long road back for Independiente, with little time to try and mount an answer. In fact, it was Independiente del Valle who had the best of the chances in stoppage time, nearly doubling their lead. 

Celebrations ensued at the sound of the final whistle, with Independiente del Valle well deserving of their spot in the CONMEBOL Sudamericana semifinals. The Ecuadorians now await next week's action, with a Brazilian side, either Corinthians or Fluminense, set to be their semifinal opponent. 

On Thursday night in Santa Fe, Argentine side Colón locked horns with Zulia, the first Venezuelan side to qualify for the Sudamericana quarterfinals. A tensely contested first half saw few chances for either side, with Zulia battling to hold on to their 1-0 lead on aggregate. At halftime, Colón brought on the Colombian striker Wilson Morelo, who instantly impacted the proceedings. 

Just two minutes into the second half, Morelo pounced on a bouncing ball in the box, striking true to pull Colón level on aggregate. That result would've sent the tie to penalties, but Colón were far from done. For their second, they took advantage of a poorly taken free-kick by Zulia, creating a massive counter-attacking opportunity that Pulga Rodríguez finished to pull his side in front. 

Following Colón's second, Zulia picked up a pair of red cards, each for second yellow cards, leaving them chasing a goal with just 9 men. Colón put the tie to bet with under ten minutes to play as Tomás Chancalay drilled a rebound shot into the back of the net. To put the icing on the cake, Federico Lértora and Cristian Bernardi combined for a brilliant golazo that added the final number to the scoreboard. 

Colón await either Atlético Mineiro of Brazil or Colombian side La Equidad in the Sudamericana semifinals.