Atlético Mineiro, with a brace from Hulk and a goal from Sávio, beat Independiente del Valle 3-1 this Thursday, consolidating its lead in group D and qualifying for the Copa Libertadores round of 16 a day early. .
The Brazilian champion now has 18 games without losing in the Libertadores.
Hulk scored in the first and second half, and Sávio put the icing on the cake in added time, after William Vargas scored for Independiente.
The Belo Horizonte team reached 11 points with one game to go and opened a lead of 3 over Deportes Tolima, which follows them in the standings, and an even greater distance over Independiente (5) and América Mineiro (2). ), his backyard rival and already eliminated.
On the last day, next Wednesday, a draw at home against Tolima is enough for Mineiro to finish as leader of the group, while the Colombian team needs to add to guarantee their classification without depending on the result of Independiente, which will host América Mineiro and still has a chance to climb to second place and keep the other quota.
The Brazilian champion, commanded by Argentine coach Antonio “El Turco” Mohamed, won despite his significant casualties, since he could not count on goalkeeper Everson (covid) or attackers Keno and Eduardo Vargas due to injury. He also had to leave Argentine Matías Zaracho out of the game at the last minute due to injury.
Atlético Mineiro, before 28,800 spectators at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte, only needed a minute to generate a dangerous play, when in a face-to-face goalkeeper Moisés Ramírez prevented striker Hulk, who received an assist inside the area , opened the marker prematurely.
The initial pressure paid off after 8 minutes, when Hulk received a perfect pass from Allan inside the area and kicked to the right of the goal defended by Ramírez to open the scoring.
Despite the partial advantage and playing at home, Mineiro moved back their scoring line, preferring to play the ball in their field and tried to take advantage of Independiente’s desperation to launch counterattacks with the Argentine Nacho Fernández, Ademir and Hulk, who completed 18 goals ( 10 in the Libertadores) in 19 games played this year.
This position allowed the Ecuadorian club to generate dangerous plays, especially on the left, and dominate the game in the last twenty minutes of the first half. In one of those offenses, Bauman, after receiving assistance from Sornoza, crashed the ball into a Rafael goalpost.
At 31, Bauman again, after a play by Sornoza, almost equalized the score.
Despite the apparent dominance of Independiente, Atlético Mineiro generated the most dangerous plays, mainly in the counterattacks that came with Nacho Fernández and Ademir.
For the second half, the visitors went on the attack.
But in the 56th minute, Hulk expanded by receiving a deep pass from Nathan, dominating inside the area and beating Ramírez with a high-class ball.
With the two-goal advantage, ‘El Turco’ preferred to bet on managing the advantage and sent Mariano to the field at the wheel in place of striker Eduardo Sasha.
That position allowed the Ecuadorian team to increase their arrivals at Rafael’s goal, mainly with Chavez and Sornoza, and almost allowed Sornoza to discount in the 30th minute.
Independiente reduced the distance in the 36th minute with a goal from right back Vargas after an attack from the left.
Encouraged by the discount, the visitor went on the attack in the last ten minutes and in the 8 minutes of substitution, and pushed back a Mineiro who still preferred to wait for the counterattacks.
The strategy once again paid off in the substitution, when, in the 50th minute, Sávio scored the third. EFE