Cruzeiro throw away two-goal lead to dent hopes of progressing to Copa Libertadores knock-out stage
Cruzeiro threw away a two-goal lead in their Copa Libertadores game with Defensor Sporting on Thursday night to give themselves an uphill battle of qualifying for the knock-out stages.
The Uruguayan side fought back to earn a 2-2 draw with the Brazilian team and in the process maintain their three point lead over Cruzeiro in the Group 5 table.
Realistically the 2013 Brasileirão champions need to win their next two matches – an away tie against top of the table Universidad Chile and a home match against bottom side Real Garcilaso to progress.
It had started well in Belo Horizonte for Cruzeiro as Everton Ribeiro put them ahead with virtually the last kick of the first half. He smashed in a free kick to spark wide celebrations amongst the home players and fans.
Cruzeiro’s Nilton and the visitors Matías Malvino had been sent off minutes before Ribeiro’s goal but in the second period former Real Madrid and Arsenal midfielder Júlio Baptista doubled the home lead with a wonderful effort.
Panic started to arise when Felipe Gedoz reduced the arrears with a near post shot and then in the 93rd minute Defensor Sporting leveled the scores through Emilio Zeballos.
A poor result for the Brazilian side and they need to show the form of last year to progress from the group now.