The first two Austin FC players, Rodney Redes and Cecilio Domínguez, made their mark on a pivotal Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores group stage match Thursday night. The 4-1 victory for Paraguay’s Club Guaraní over Argentine club Tigre, at Asuncion’s Estadio Defensores del Chaco, was Dominguez’s first match for the club.
The match, part of the annual tournament featuring the top club teams in South America, gave a number of fans in Austin and throughout the Americas their first look at the duo in action.
Earlier this month, Domínguez joined Redes at Paraguay’s Club Guaraní, where the duo will play through the end of 2020 before arriving at Austin FC for debut season preparations. Thursday, both saw significant action in Guaraní’s come-from-behind win.
Redes started the match, playing for the first 58 minutes before departing in the double substitution allowing Domínguez to make his Guaraní debut.
Guaraní went down less than 10 minutes into the match, with Tigre’s Pablo Magnin beating Guaraní ‘keeper Gaspar Servio with a highlight-reel-worthy shot. Redes was instrumental in the 26th-minute equalizer, sending a dangerous ball into the box from the left channel. The pass caromed off a Tigre defender and found Guaraní midfielder Bautista Merlini, who smashed home the rebound to bring El Aborigen level.
Redes was active throughout his time on the field, playing on the wing and taking multiple free kicks and corner kicks. And yet, the match stayed level until Domínguez put his mark on it.
Just eight minutes into his shift, Domínguez made a run toward goal, was taken down, and deftly delivered the penalty kick that proved to be the match winner.
You might want to get used to this, @AustinFC! 👀— beIN SPORTS USA (@beINSPORTSUSA) September 18, 2020
Cecilio Dominguez scores in his first match for Club Guarani and gives them a 2-1 lead from his penalty.#Libertadores LIVE NOW ⬇️
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💻📱CONNECT https://t.co/LRYa03w6yI pic.twitter.com/BRaWRRyyru
Domínguez also notched an assist, setting up veteran Edgar Benitez in the 83rd minute for the first of two insurance goals. He also nearly got a second goal, sliding in toward the far post toward a potential assist that just missed the mark.
Because the match featured on BeIN Sports, a number of Austin FC fans got their first look at both players — and they’ll have the chance to check in during future weeks, especially if tournament play goes well for Guaraní. Thursday's result puts Guarani second in the Group B standings behind Brazilian powers Palmeiras, who they face Sept. 23.
Should Guaraní finish first or second in Group B, they’ll advance to the Copa’s Round of 16, which starts Nov. 24 in the pandemic-altered schedule. The tournament final is slated for late January (with the exact date to be announced) at the fabled Maracaña in Rio de Janeiro.
9’ – TIG – Pablo Magnin
26' – GUA – Bautista Merlini
67’– GUA – Cecilio Dominguez (PK)
83' – GUA – Edgar Benitez
90' – GUA – Angel Benitez