Rodney Redes wasn’t on the field for long on Wednesday night, but was there long enough to create the magic for a group stage win for Club Guaraní.
Redes, the first Austin FC signing, delivered the winning assist in Guaraní’s 3-2 come-from-behind win over Bolivar in their Copa Libertadores group stage match at Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz. Redes’ corner kick in the dying throes of stoppage time, a well-weighted ball that Jose Florentin headed home, capped off a wild match that saw both teams defy convention.
Guaraní took control early, getting its opening goal in the 13th minute, in a match where both Redes and fellow Austin FC signee Cecilio Domínguez started on the bench. Domínguez came on as a sub in the 66th minute, and soon after his arrival, changed the complexion of the match. He drew a foul from Bolivar’s Jairo Quinteros, ruled as his second yellow, and Guaraní was suddenly a man up as Quinteros was sent off.
But Bolivar was undeterred, getting goals in the 80th and 89th minutes to take the lead despite the disadvantage. At that point, Redes was subbed on to bring more offense in the match’s final moments — a move that definitively paid off.
Guaraní found its equalizer in the second minute of stoppage time, and at the end of the announced five minutes of stoppage time, Guaraní earned a corner kick. Redes’ delivery and the resulting goal left Guaraní jubilant and Bolivar shell-shocked.
The result, though dramatically delivered, didn’t change the complexion of the Copa Libertadores group’s final standings. Guaraní went into the match with an improbable but mathematically-possible chance at winning its group. Brazilian powers Palmeiras put that to rest with their 5-0 win over Argentina’s Tigre.
Guaraní will advance as the second-place team from their group, and now wait to see which group winner they’ll face when the Round of 16 kicks off on November 24.