Soccer-LDU start title defence with 3-2 win over Palmeiras

BUENOS AIRES Wed Feb 18, 2009 2:39am GMT

BUENOS AIRES Feb 17 (Reuters) - Ecuador's LDU began their defence of the Libertadores Cup title by beating Palmeiras 3-2 on Tuesday, ending their opponents' run of nine straight wins this year.

Boca Juniors, champions four times since 2000, entered the fray with a 1-0 win over Deportivo Cuenca while Chile's Everton beat Venezuelans Caracas FC 1-0 in the evening's other game.

LDU, playing at 2,800 metres above sea level at the Casa Blanca in Quito, went ahead after 24 minutes of the Group One match when Walter Calderon headed in Damian Manso's cross.

The Brazilians levelled four minutes later when Willians snapped up a rebound from LDU goalkeeper Jose Cevallos but Calderon put LDU back in front in the 35th minute.

Palmeiras, guided by former Brazil and Real Madrid coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, equalised again two minutes after halftime when Edmilson headed in from a free kick.

Manso had the last word, scoring from a free kick in the 58th minute.

A 12th minute goal from forward Rodrigo Palacio gave Boca, Argentina's most popular team, the points in their Group Two game in Buenos Aires.

Boca failed to add to their lead and survived a bout of second-half pressure from the Ecuadorean visitors with goalkeeper Roberto Abbondanzieri making an excellent close-range save from Rodrigo Teixeira.

In the Chilean resort of Vina del Mar, Caracas FC dominated the first half of the Group Six match but were denied by Everton goalkeeper Gustavo Dalsasso, who made four excellent saves.

Everton, under former Chile coach Nelson Acosta, then scored in first-half injury time when Roberto Gutierrez turned in Ezequiel Miralles' pass from close range. (Editing by N.Ananthanarayanan)