Sao Paulo booked their spot in the Copa Libertadores semi-finals with a 2-2 aggregate win on away goals, despite losing 2-1 away to Atletico Mineiro in the second leg of Wednesday’s quarter-final tie.
Brazilian defender Maicon scored the crucial away goal to cap off a hectic 15 minutes after his side fell 2-0 down in the opening stages in Belo Horizonte.
Sao Paolo took a 1-0 lead into the second leg, but that advantage was quickly cancelled as Juan Cazares gave Brazilian rivals Mineiro a second-leg lead after just seven minutes, levelling the tie in the process.
Mineiro right-back Marcos Rocha stormed down the right wing to unleash a difficult shot on goal but Denis could only parry the ball into the path of Cazares, who found the back of the net via the feet of the Sao Paulo goalkeeper.
The hosts took an aggregate lead barely five minutes later when left-back Douglas Santos launched a cross from deep into the box, finding Carlos unmarked at the back post for a simple headed finish.
With Mineiro up and about, Sao Paulo looked like they would struggle to come back into the game but used their height and strength at set-pieces to find what proved to be the winning goal of the two-legged tie.
Kelvin launched a wonderful corner from the left, finding Maicon who rose highest to beat his two markers and the onrushing keeper Victor to nod home.
A tight and tense second half followed but neither side found the back of the net, Mineiro’s Leandro Donizete sent off in stoppage time as Sao Paulo progressed to the final four.
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