Atlético Mineiro leave it late to secure all three points against ten man Santa Fe in Copa Libertadores
A late winner from substitute Neto Berola gave Atlético Mineiro all three points in their Copa Libertadores match in the early hours of Thursday morning UK time.
Colombian’s Santa Fe proved to be tough opposition and had to play more than half of the game with ten men but were eventually beaten 2-1.
The reigning champions Atlético Mineiro were favourites going into the game but failed to test the visitors keeper Camilo Vargas properly until after around 25 minutes.
Nicolás Otamendi met Ronaldinho’s marvelous free kick but Vargas expertly saved his header.
With the half time whistle approaching Santa Fe were reduced to ten men when forward Wilder Medina caught Otamendi high and the referee was left with no choice but to give him a straight red.
Atlético started to dominate even more and seven minutes into the second half they hit the woodwork.
Ronaldinho threaded a superb through ball into Jô’s path; he spun his marker but lashed against the post from just outside the area.
Santa Fe then shocked the home crowd when captain Omar Pérez fired in the opening goal of the game.
Moments earlier Pérez had tested Victor from a free kick and then on the hour mark he gave his side the lead with a swerving low effort from 25-yards-out.
The hosts weren’t behind for long though as Jô was able to score two minutes later following substitutes Guilherme’s perfectly weighted through ball.
Atlético pushed for the winner after and it finally came three minutes from time.
Substitute Neto Berola was the hero as he acrobatically volleyed past Vargas following Marcos Rocha’s long throw.
The visitors pushed for an equaliser but it wasn’t forthcoming and the reigning champions secured win number two in this season’s campaign they stay top of Group 4 and face Club Nacional next on March 13th.