Union Española played out an entertaining goalless draw in Argentina on Friday which leaves theirRound of 16 tie against Arsenal de Sarandi wide open.
The visitors almost got off to the worst possible start just two minutes in when a backpedalling Matias Navarrete was forced to head the ball behind for a corner, narrowly bypassing Diego Sanchez’ back post. Española soon began to dominate and Sebastian Jaime had his side’s best chance of the first half after 20 minutes. Diego Scotti’s raking long ball picked out Jaime who did brilliantly to hold off Hugo Nervo’s lunging tackle in the penalty area and bring a sharp save out of Cristian Campestrini. Arsenal started to pass their way back into the match and should have taken the lead through Milton Caraglio, but he scuffed his shot into Sanchez’ arms after being picked out on the edge of the box by Damian Perez.
Three minutes into the second half Arsenal were inches away from opening the scoring, Campestrini’s long punt up field was flicked on by Caraglio and Matias Sanchez struck the ball beautifully on the volley, only to see his shot fly inches over onto the roof of the net. The home side’s next chance came just after the hour mark when Caraglio rose highest in the box to head Diego Rolle’s cross towards goal, but Sanchez dived acrobatically to his right to keep the scores level.
Just seven minutes from the end Jaime thought he had given his side an invaluable lead when he nodded Cristian Chavez’ cross back across goal. However, Campestrini managed to claw the ball out at full stretch and ensure both sides finished with a clean sheet. The draw favours neither side but Union Española will be confident of progressing to the quarter finals should they perform just as well at the Santa Laura and are more ruthless in front of goal.