Iquique debut in Libertadores with draw

Iquique celebrate their opener

Iquique celebrate their opener

Iquique’s debut in the Copa Libertadores was an impressive one as they drew 1-all away to Mexican side, León.

Iquique started their first ever match in the Copa Libertadores on the front foot and were rewarded for their efforts in the third minute when a spectacular shot from Rodrigo Díaz from the edge of the area left León goalkeeper Christian Martínez flapping at air.

Things went from bad to worse for the home side when former Barcelona defender Rafael Marquez had to be substituted in the tenth minute due to injury. At times Iquique looked the stronger team in midfield for the first half and the beginning of the second, but León continued to pressure the ball and look for chances. Both Othoniel Arce and Nery Castillo had chances to equalise for León in the first half but the advantage remained with Iquique when the half time whistle blew.

Five minutes into the second half Iquique had a chance to double their lead but goalscorer Díaz spurned a golden opportunity. For their part León almost equalised in the 64th minute when Juan Carlos Rojas’s shot from inside the area hit the crossbar with Iquique goalkeeper Rodrigo Naranjo beaten. Three minutes before full time the home side finally found the leveller as Sebastian Maz headed home an Edwin Hernández cross.

After the match Iquique manager Cristián Díaz conceded that the result was probably a fair reflection of the game and that León deserved to level the tie going into the return leg which is to be played next Tuesday in the Estadio Tierra de Campeones. The winner of the tie will join Group 4 which already contains Emelec, Peñarol and Velez Sarsfield.

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