Iquique qualify for Libertadores

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Iquique has qualified for the group stage of the Copa Libertadores for the first time after defeating Mexican side León on penalties after their tie ended 2-2 on aggregate following a 1-all draw in Iquique.

León dominated much of the play early in the first half but created few goal scoring opportunities. The visitors’ first real chance came in the 27th minute when Yovanny Arrechea’s effort wasn’t held cleanly by Iquique goalkeeper, Rodrigo Naranjo but fortunately for Iquique no was nearby to pounce on the loose ball and tap it home. Ten minutes los dragones celestes had a chance of their own as Rodrigo Díaz was put through by Leonardo Monje but he spurned the opportunity.

The match remained scoreless going into the half but it didn’t remain that way for too long on the restart as León scored the opener two minutes after the restart courtesy of Yovanny Arrechea. Arrechea, fired home from the inside the penalty area after the home side failed to deal with a free kick from their Mexican opponents.

The goal spurred Iquique into action and ten minutes later they were back on level terms after Monje was brought down in the area by León goalkeeper Christian Martinez. Rodrigo Díaz then duly converted the spot kick. The score remained at one apiece when referee Antonio Arias blew the whistle for full time and with the tie at 2-all the match went to a penalty shootout. Iquique goalkeeper, Naranjo was the hero for the home side saving León’s first two penalties from Luis Montes and Hernán Burbano before Rodrigo Díaz slotted home the deciding penalty for a 4-2 triumph to see Iquique make it to the group stage of the Copa Libertadores at their first attempt.

They will have a tough task advancing from a group that features Velez Sarsfield, Peñarol and Emelec.

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