Roberto Ordóñez was the star of the show at the Estadio Jocay on Tuesday night as Delfín kicked off their 2019 Copa Libertadores campaign with a 3-0 first leg win over Nacional in the first round of qualification for the group stage.
The 33-year-old striker delivered on the opening day of the competition by scoring a brace and providing an assist as the Ecuadorians took a giant step towards a second stage meeting with Caracas (Venezuela).
Fabián Bustos’ men came out of the traps flying, taking a two-goal lead within 14 minutes of the match kicking off thanks to the veteran striker.
In the 11th minute, a snap shot from the left boot of Juan Rojas was parried by Nacional’s goalkeeper, Santiago Rojas, but only as far as the expectant Ordóñez, who tapped home the rebound from close range to get the scoreboard ticking.
The game had barely restarted when the 33-year-old found the back of the net for a second time, rising high to meet a Sergio López cross with a well-taken header.
Delfín continued to put the Paraguayan side under pressure, and nearly got a third goal in the 29th minute when López struck a curling volley into the side-netting which momentarily had the home supporters celebrating.
Nacional came close to pegging a goal back before the break when Eric Cristaldo found Juan Vieyra with a pin-point cross in the 40th minute, however, the former Newell’s midfielder sent his header inches wide of the upright.
A sluggish start to the second half was punctured near the hour mark when López rattled the crossbar with a header before Carlos Garcés skied the rebound over the bar.
Cristaldo missed a great scoring opportunity for the Paraguayans in the 71st minute, stirring a Miguel Jacquet pass wide of the mark from close range with his head.
Ten minutes later, Rojas produced a reflex save to deny a powerful Garcés shot, but was helpless to prevent the striker opening his account right at the death when the Manta native turned an Ordóñez pullback pass into an open net.
Delfín will take a commanding 3-0 lead to Asuncion next Wednesday when the two sides meet again Nacional at the Estadio Arsenio Erico for the second leg.