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November 26, 2014
Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Last-minute strike pegs back San Lorenzo in Libertadores final

A well-taken volley from Mauro Matos has put San Lorenzo in the driving seat as they took the lead in the final of the Copa Libertadores, but the Ciclón fell in the final minute to draw 1-1 against Nacional in the first leg of the tournament's decisive clash.

The striker's finish was no less than the visitors deserved, as they took the game to their Paraguayan rivals from early in the encounter before finally breaking through.

But with away fans already celebrating a narrow victory, substitute Santa Cruz beat Sebastián Torrico to a cross and headed home in injury time, leaving the Paraguayans elated to take a result from a game that looked to be slipping from their fingers.

Both sides came out tentatively in the Defensores del Chaco stadium, playing on the counter and sitting deep waiting for mistakes. But it was the team directed by Edgardo Bauza who looked more dangerous, finding their rhythm and putting Nacional under pressure.

The Argentine giants dominated play in the first half of their Libertadores final in Asunción, but could not break through a determined Nacional side and went into the break tied 0-0 in the first leg.

Bauza's men enjoyed over 60 percent of possession in the first 45 minutes and had nine shots on goal, but the Paraguayans defended stoutly as San Lorenzo threw more men into attack and a sea of bodies between the ball and the home net helped avoid an early opener.

Defender Emanuel Mas came closest to breaking the deadlock, but his shot rebounded off the post to save Nacional before the interval.

The Cuervo have the unenviable record of being the only member of Argentina's 'big five', a group that includes local heavyweights Boca Juniors, River Plate, Racing Club and Independiente, yet to win a Libertadores title. Nacional, meanwhile, are seeking to become the second Paraguayan team, after Asunción neighbours Olimpia, to win South America's top club football prize.

Next Wednesday the two teams will travel to San Lorenzo's Nuevo Gasometro home in the City neighbourhood of Bajo Flores, for the second and decisive leg. Away goals do not count towards the final result; in the event of an aggregate tie, the two teams will go to a penalty shoot-out.
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Tags:  Libertadores  San Lorenzo  Nacional  





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