Last-second penalty triggers player riot in Copa Libertadores

Thursday night’s Copa Libertadores match between Independiente del Valle and San Lorenzo ended on an ugly note when riot police had to rush the pitch to stop players from attacking the referee.

The commotion was sparked when a last-second penalty was awarded to Ecuadorian side Independiente. The Argentinian visitors San Lorenzo were clinging to a 1-0 lead. Once Junior Sornoza converted from the spot for an improbable, last-gasp point, the livid San Lorenzo players swarmed around the match officials, forcing riot police into action.

The impact of the penalty decision can’t be understated. Due to the late equalizer, the two sides now both sit on five points in their Copa Libertadores group, with just one match-day remaining. A win would have given San Lorenzo a good chance to advance to the next round, but the draw kept them behind Independiente in last place.

H/T Pies


Mineiro win first Copa Libertadores title, Olimpia players too upset to talk

Atletico Mineiro overcame a 2-0 deficit from the first leg to beat Olimpia on penalties for their first ever Copa Libertadores title.

A goal by Leo Silva in the 87th minute leveled the aggregate score at 2-2 after Jô’s opener early in the second half kept Atletico in the tie. After extra time didn’t produce a winner, Mineiro converted all four of their penalties before Olimpia’s second miss sealed the outcome.

Highlights are below:  

With the win, Mineiro’s Ronaldinho became just the fourth player all-time to win a World Cup as well as both the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores. He also became just the seventh to win the UCL and the Copa Lib. The last to do it was Walter Samuel (UCL with Inter in 2009, CL with Boca Juniors in 2000).

While Dinho and co. celebrated on the pitch, the loss had Olimpia’s players too chocked up to put into words:


Copa Libertadores Final: Atletico Mineiro searches for miracle vs. Olimpia

By Kyle McCarthy, FOXSoccer.com

Atlético Mineiro assembled its array of stars for exactly this moment: the chance to claim its first Copa Libertadores title at the Mineirao on Wednesday night.

Every single one of those luminaries must produce in order to turn that dream into a reality after a 2-0 first leg defeat to Olimpia a week ago. Atlético flailed around for much of the night in Paraguay and watched as the home side snatched a potentially decisive late goal through Wilson Pittoni to cobble together a decent advantage ahead of the return leg.

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Olimpia fans unveil breathtaking tifo before Copa Libertadores match

Ahead of the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final between Olimpia and Atletico Mineiro, fans of the home side displayed an incredible tifo that stole the pre-game show.

The intimidating yet beautiful mosaic filled the stadium as Olimpia fans roared and fireworks burst wildly in the night sky. It was as intense a moment as you’ll find in world soccer.

The celebrations had begun before the game was even played. It is a safe bet, however, that they probably continued partying after Olimpia beat Atletico Mineiro 2-0, leaving the Brazilian club in a tough spot heading back to Belo Horizonte for the second leg of the final.

Surely, the Atletico Mineiro fans have something dazzling up their sleeves for the return leg.


Copa Libertadores Preview: Atletico Mineiro vs. Club Tijuana


By Kyle McCarthy

Club Tijuana coach Antonio Mohamed must produce one last miracle to conclude his tenure in style and send the Xolors through the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores.

He must devise a way to end Atlético Mineiro’s staggering record of success in Belo Horizonte.

It is not an easy brief to fulfill. Mineiro has not dropped a point at home during this calendar year. It has not lost at home during this edition of the competition. It has not suffered a home defeat since a 2-1 setback to Cruzeiro on Aug. 28, 2011.

Mineiro’s formidable home form exacerbates the problems created by Tijuana’s inability to protect a two-goal lead at Estadio Caliente a week ago. The 2-2 draw in Mexico hands Mineiro a significant advantage ahead of the second leg and means Tijuana must secure either an outright victory or a tie that includes at least three goals scored to go through at full time.

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Copa Libertadores, Round of 16: Tijuana squanders chance vs. Palmeiras

By Kyle McCarthy

Club Tijuana managed to keep its unblemished home record in the Copa Libertadores intact with a 0-0 draw against Palmeiras on Tuesday night, but the Xolos squandered its invitation to take control of this round of 16 tie.

The home side kept its nerve for the most part and threatened occasionally after an indifferent start to the match. It did not, however, possess the sharpness required to make the best use of its advantage at Estadio Caliente.

The lack of investment in this side prior to this Libertadores campaign and the suspect form over the past few weeks told once again in the final third. Fidel Martinez lashed wide from a promising position at the top of the penalty area after 25 minutes to signal Tijuana’s improvement after a tentative opening period. Fernando Arce subsequently forced Bruno to tip his free kick over the bar, while Alfredo Moreno and Duvier Riascos both wasted good opportunities to open the scoring before the interval.

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A full-scale brawl broke out at the end of the final Copa Libertadores group stage match between Gremio and Huachipato after Gremio manager Vanderlei Luxemburgo allegedly teased his counterpart Jorge Pellicier.

Following the spat, several Huachipato players attempted to chase down Luxemburgo, who then fell to the ground as chaos around him ensued. Players, coaches, ball boys, fans, you name it and they were involved before riot police eventually interfered.

So what did Luxemburgo say to spark such chaos? According to Reuters, Pellicier was quoted as saying: “He tried to make fun of us… That’s unsporting conduct. He said we should go on holiday, making a gesture with his hand.”

Luxemburgo kind of had a point, though it certainly was unsportsmanlike. With the two sides settling for a draw, Gremio advanced to the round of 16 while Huachipato missed out on goal difference.

PS: Anyone else find it hilarious that some of them seriously started to throw and kick soccer balls at the riot police? What’s that gonna accomplish?


The idea was literally seven years in the making, but it was certainly worth it…

When Nacional supporters decided in 2006 to produce and unfurl the what is probably the biggest tifo ever at a football match, uncertain glances were cast. During their game against Toluca in the Copa Libertadores last night however, the unimaginable finally happened.

The gigantic tifo is 600m in length and 54m in height, and it took more than 18 months to print. Canvassing most of the stadium, we hope that the Nacional fans didn’t miss their club’s 4-0 demolition of Toluca.

Video via @101greatgoals.