Santa Fe, Deportivo Cali draw in VAR's Copa Sudamericana debut
Bogota : Colombian clubs Independiente Santa Fe and Deportivo Cali played to a 1-1 draw here in the first leg of their Copa Sudamericana quarter-final clash, a contest that saw the debut of the video assistant referee (VAR) system in South America's second-tier football club competition.
The home side came out aggressively Tuesday night at El Campin Stadium in Bogota, nearly scoring in the second minute when Uruguayan attacking midfielder Diego Guastavino noticed that Deportivo Cali keeper Camilo Vargas was off his line and fired a slicing shot from midfield that clanked off the crossbar, reports EFe.
Guastavino then proceeded to link up with Santa Fe midfielders Luis Manuel Seijas and Juan Daniel Roa to heap pressure on the visitors' flustered defence in the early going.
Although Deportivo Cali's attack was initially disjointed, the visitors opened the scoring - and picked up a key away goal - when defender Ezequiel Palomeque headed a cross from midfielder Jhon Mosquera into the back of the net in the 32nd minute.
That lead lasted less than 15 minutes as Santa Fe striker Wilson Morelo was fouled in the area in the waning moments of the first half and converted the penalty try himself to knot the game at a goal apiece.
Even though the decision to award a penalty seemed questionable, the play was not reviewed by the VAR system.
Both sides then had clear chances to score in the second half, with Vargas making a remarkable save early on to deny a header by Seijas and Deportivo Cali's Didier Delgado unable to beat net minder Robinson Zapata in a one-on-one opportunity in the 66th minute.
Santa Fe second-half substitute Arley Rodriguez appeared to score 10 minutes later off a pass from defender Carlos Henao, who got his head on the ball after a free kick had slammed into a wall of Deportivo Cali players.
But the play was reviewed by the VAR system, and the apparent goal was controversially disallowed for an offside.
These two teams will square off in the second leg at Estadio Deportivo Cali in Palmira on October 30 to determine the first 2018 Copa Sudamericana semi-final berth.