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Atletico clinches Libertadores progress

Atletico Mineiro became the first team to book a berth in the Copa Libertadores last 16 as the Brazilians earned a 2-1 win over The Strongest in Bolivia.

The win took the visitors to 12 points from four games as they look for their first Libertadores title.

The Estadio Hernando Siles in La Paz, at 3,600 metres above sea level, saw Diego Tardelli put Atletico Mineiro ahead in the ninth minute with a header, after a cross by Jo from the left.

Harold Reina equalized two minutes before halftime, as he took the loose ball after keeper Victor failed to hold a long shot by Ernesto Cristaldo.

With only eight minutes remaining in the game, Serginho crossed the ball to Ronaldinho but The Strongest defender Luis Mendez deflected the ball and it went into the back of his own net to give Atletico Mineiro the win.

"This is a great night for us," Tardelli told Fox Sports. "It was a very tough game like the one we played in Belo Horizonte (against The Strongest a week ago).

"We came to La Paz five days before the game to get used to the geographical conditions and we go back to Brazil with a victory. We want the Libertadores trophy. We have a strong team and we prove it game by game," he added.

The reigning Copa Libertadores champion Corinthians showed no mercy to Mexican side Tijuana as it romped 3-0 in the fourth round of Group Five matches.

The win helped Corinthians narrow to two points the gap to group leaders Tijuana, who sit at summit with nine points.

Former AC Milan forward Alexandre Pato put Corinthians ahead in the 26th minute, after a Renato Augusto shot hit the crossbar, while Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero widened the gap nine minutes later.

It was not until the 81st minute that Corinthians managed to hurt the Mexican champions again, as Paulinho scored with a header.

Meanwhile in Barquisimeto, Paraguayan giants Olimpia took sole leadership of Group Seven thanks to a 5-1 win at Deportivo Lara.

Freddy Bareiro put the visitors ahead in the seventh minute, before Herminio Miranda added a second in the 25th.

Wilson Pittoni recorded a brace in the 40th and 46th minutes and, even though Yuber Mosquera pulled one back five minutes later, Lorenzo Aranda consolidated the win.

In a very even group, Olimpia lead on seven points, followed by Argentinian side Newell's Old Boys and Universidad de Chile, who have both collected one point less.

Lara come fourth on four points, but they still have mathematical chance to progress to the next round.

Finally in Group One, hosts Barcelona of Ecuador and Mexico's Toluca played out a goalless draw in Guayaquil.


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