MONTEVIDEO – Brazil’s Atletico Mineiro squandered its lead twice and in the end had to resign itself to a 2-2 draw on Tuesday when it visited Uruguay’s Danubio in the first leg of the second phase of the 60th edition of the Copa Libertadores.
However, the parity is a positive result for the Belo Horizonte team as the decider will be played at their home in the second leg, on Feb. 12.
Tuesday’s duel in Montevideo began with Danubio trying to get closer to the opposition area through crosses that were easily cleared by Mineiro.
In the eighth minute, the Brazilian team had its first chance coming from a powerful shot by Yimmi Chara which was contained by goalkeeper Federico Cristoforo.
In the 15th minute, Mineiro had another chance that was also contained by Cristoforo. Three minutes later, Danubio had its first chance, thanks to a shot from Sergio Felipe, caught by goalkeeper Victor Leandro Bagy.
The first goal in Montevideo came thanks to Mineiro’s experienced striker Ricardo Oliveira, 38, who received a good assist from Juan Cazares and defined a soft shot that passed between Cristoforo’s legs and ended up entering near the left post of the goal.
From that moment on, Mineiro began to control the game with several dangerous arrivals that were well contained by Cristoforo, who during the first half was the main player of Danubio.
In the last moments of the first half, and when it was least expected, Danubio converted to a draw after a great collective play of the Uruguayan team finished by Federico Rodriguez after a good assist from Carlos Grossmuller.
The second part began with strong play by Danubio which, motivated by the tie, came out with everything to try to turn the game in its favor.
In the 51st minute, Leandro Sosa was cautioned after a foul on Chara when Mineiro’s counterattack began.
From the 53rd minute onwards, Mineiro took the reins of the game again and managed a dangerous finish that, once again, was contained by Cristoforo.
In the 61st minute, Igor Rabello received a yellow card for a hard tackle on Federico Rodriguez and, a minute later, Denis Olivera was also warned for grabbing Chara to prevent a new counter from Mineiro.
After this incident, the Brazilian team made two changes: Maicon and Jose Welison entered for Chara and Elias, respectively.
In the 69th minute, Adilson was warned and a minute later Ricardo Oliveira was close to score the second goal, but couldn’t get past Cristoforo.
After Mineiro’s attack insisted, Oliveira scored his side’s second goal in the 77th minute with a powerful header from Cazares pass.
However, the joy was short lived as in the 79th minute Danubio scored the tie with a header from Sergio Felipe that Victor could not contain.