Martinez bags hat-trick as Cucuta thrash Toluca

May 4, 2007

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 3 (Reuters) - Cucuta forward Juan Manuel Martinez scored a 13-minute hat-trick as the Colombian champions thumped Toluca 5-1 in their Libertadores Cup third round first leg tie on Thursday.

The goals and red cards flowed as three games produced 14 goals and four dismissals between them.

In the other matches, Paraguayan champions Libertad came from behind to beat Brazil's Parana 2-1 away while Nacional of Uruguay beat Mexico's Necaxa 3-2 in Montevideo with defender Diego Godin scoring at both ends.

Cucuta got off to a nightmare start when Vicente Sanchez put Toluca ahead after only 25 seconds, latching onto a pass by Antonio Naelson and slipping the ball past Robinson Zapata.

But the game was turned on its head after the Mexicans had midfielder Carlos Morales sent off in the 26th minute for a late tackle on Ruben Dario Bustos.

Martinez equalised with a shot from outside the area in the 33nd minute and Carlos Castro poked the ball past Hernan Cristante for Cucuta's second just a minute later.

In the 42nd minute, Martinez slipped past Paulo da Silva and placed the ball past Cristante and then the 21-year-old Argentine completed his hat-trick in first-half injury-time, scoring from a rebound.

Cucuta eased off after the break before Alexander del Castillo added their fifth in the 89th minute.

Last year's semi-finalists Libertad also came from behind to win in Curitiba.

After a scoreless first half, Josiel finished off a counter-attack to put Parana ahead in the 51st minute.

Colombian Vladimir Marin equalised with a trademark 30-metre free kick in the 71st minute and the game turned further Libertad's way when Parana had defender Neguete was sent off for a late tackle six minutes later.

Libertad took control and defender Deivis Barone headed home in the 89th minute to give them a third win in four away games.

In Montevideo, three-times former champions Nacional, backed by a fanatical crowd, went ahead in the seventh minute when Diego Vera intercepted a poor back pass by Necaxa debutant Oscar Rojas to score.

Kleber Boas equalised three minutes later with a clinically-taken goal and Godin put Nacional back in front in the 23rd minute from a rebound.

Godin turned villain when he put through his own goal after a series of rebounds in the 53rd minute but Nacional again took the lead when Jorge Martinez scored from the next attack.

Vera and Necaxa midfielder Everaldo were sent off for fighting in the 84th minute.