Sao Paulo advance to Copa Libertadores semi-finals

Belo Horizonte (Brazil), May 19 (IANS) Defender Maicon scored a decisive away goal as Sao Paulo defeated Atletico Mineiro to advance to the Copa Libertadores semi-finals in their all-Brazilian clash.

Atletico quickly overturned the 0-1 deficit in last week’s quarter-final first leg with two goals in as many minutes at their Independencia stadium here on Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

Juan Cazares opened the scoring in the seventh minute when his shot deflected in off the legs of Sao Paulo goalkeeper Denis. Then Carlos Carvalho gave the hosts the lead by heading in a Douglas Santos cross.

But Maicon wrested back the advantage for Sao Paulo by nodding in from a corner with the match still only 15 minutes old. The header put the visitors in front under the away goals rule, which is applied when the scores are level on aggregate.

“Maybe we didn’t play the prettiest football today but our determination helped us through,” an elated Sao Paulo midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso said after the match.

Sao Paulo are bidding for their fourth Copa Libertadores title and their first since 2005.

They will meet the winner of the quarterfinal between Mexico’s Pumas UNAM and Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle in the semifinals of Latin America’s premier club competition.

–IANS

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