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Jobu reviews Nacional’s latest Copa America group stage win.

Coming into Thursday night’s game against Deportivo Toluca, Nacional needed a win to guarantee a berth into the next stage of the Copa America tournament. A win would also guarantee that Boca Juniors would move along with them from Group A. After their 4-0 trouncing of the Mexican League team at home, Nacional made a lot of South Americans happy.

Being that we’re in the thick of the baseball season, and I didn’t feel like watching a choppy feed on, I didn’t watch this game. Instead, I basically got play by play from my brother (although he forgot to watch the first half). Either way, Nacional got the big win they needed, so I don’t feel guilty about it and you shouldn’t judge us about it either.

Anywho, Nacional got the scoring started early. Actually, Toluca’s defender basically started it off for them. Deep in their own territory, Toluca defender Enrique Meza attempted to cross the ball back to another defender in the box. Unfortunately, no one was actually there other than Nacional’s Gonzalo Bueno, who took the ball and was basically wide open for one of the easiest goals of the tournament. Toluca’s horrible defense continued in the 34th minute, when Goalie Alfredo Talavera picked up a ball that had been passed back to him by a teammate. If you know your fútbol, you know that’s a no-no. Nacional was given a free kick right inside the zone, which was converted by Israel Damonte after a flurry of activity in front of the net.

Nacional took full advantage of Toluca’s mistakes in this game, and that paid off with a big win. The third goal came on a bit of a controversial penalty in the 73rd minute. Bueno was taken down, in my opinion, just outside the box (and not that strongly anyway). The referee did not call a penalty initially, but was convinced to do so by the side judge for some reason. Either way, Iván Alonso, the former Toluca striker, converted the penalty and essentially put the game away. Nacional would add another goal in the 88th minute (a bit rude, if you ask me), when Bueno again converted on a cross by Alexander Medina, which Álvaro Recoba graciously let through (he probably could have scored himself). That completed the bullying, and Nacional won 4-0.

The shellacking secured Nacional’s place in the next round, but the group stage isn’t yet over. Nacional plays once more on Wednesday, April 17th against Barcelona (Ecuador). The game won’t be completely meaningless, as a win would guarantee Nacional first place in the group and a better seed in the next round. Depending on what Boca Juniors does in their finale against Toluca, a Nacional tie could also get them into first place. Let’s hope they can get the job done!

Featured image courtesy of: The Associated Press

Martin Stezano

About Martin Stezano

Uruguayan born and American raised with a unique perspective on the domestic and international sports scenes. It will both tickle your funny bone and enlighten your mind. Love it or hate it...just read it.