24
Jul

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:

23
Jul

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

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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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18
Jul

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.

17
Jul

Copa Libertadores Preview: Ronaldinho seeks elusive club title

By Kyle McCarthy, FOXSoccer.com

Ronaldinho returned to Brazil with one rather glaring omission from his staggering list of honors. And now the Copa Libertadores is within his grasp.

The veteran schemer will lead Atlético Mineiro into uncharted territory in Asuncion on Wednesday night. Both he and his club hope to emerge triumphant in this competition for the first time at the end of this two-legged tie. It will not prove an easy brief to fulfill with three-time champions Olimpia standing in the way of Libertadores glory.

“We have no greater wish than to bring the title to Atlético,” Ronaldinho Tweeted on Monday.

Atlético enters the final as slight favorites after engineering a great escape in the second leg against Newell’s Old Boys in the semifinals a week ago. Guilherme struck in the sixth minute of stoppage time to draw level on points in the series. Ronaldinho then converted the winning penalty to ensure Galo booked its place in the final.

The ample talent with Atlético’s ranks – including Brazilian internationals Bernard (expected to depart for a major European club after this tie concludes), Jô and Réver – warrants significant attention, but the Paraguayan outfit possesses the resolve to create significant problems for its lauded competition. Olimpia proved its mettle by securing its place in the final with a 1-0 defeat against Independiente Santa Fe in Colombia last Wednesday and underscored its ability to claim the title by holding out under significant duress in the waning stages of that affair.

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Ronaldinho seeks his first Copa Libertadores title (Photo: Victor R Caivano/AP Images).

Ever Almeida’s side must produce similar heroics over these two legs to set the stage for another Libertadores triumph in these trying circumstances. The contrast in styles – Atlético with its array of attacking weapons, Olimpia with its reliance on organization and shape – presents the possibility for an intriguing final if the two sides play to their strengths over the two legs.

Those technical concerns, however, fall well down the pecking order of priorities for the former Barcelona star. His focus – as always – remains on the overriding objective and the prospect of adding this elusive title to his protracted level of success.