Ronaldinho spurred Atletico Mineiro to a 2-1 comeback at the Estadio Morumbi against 10-man Sao Paulo in the first-leg of the all-Brazilian Copa Libertadores Round of 16 series.
Sao Paulo took the lead early through Jadson’s eighth-minute opener following some unselfish play from midfield playmaker Ganso. However, just as the home team was tightening its grip on the game, spurning several chances in the process, defender Lucio was sent-off for a dangerous tackle on Bernard in the 35th-minute. Seven minutes later, Ronaldinho leveled the game with a fine far post header from a corner. Diego Tardelli then claimed the winner just before the hour mark, finishing off a flowing move involving Ronaldinho and Marcos Rocha to put Atletico in the driver’s seat heading into next week’s second-leg in Belo Horizonte.
"The game was set in a certain way and it took a different turn after (Lucio's dismissal),” Sao Paulo captain and goalkeeper Rogerio Ceni lamented. “Unfortunately, any loss of a player is fatal when two balanced teams meet."
Ronaldinho, meanwhile, insisted nothing is decided yet: "We haven't won anything yet, it was an important game, but we have to keep respecting Sao Paulo and remain realistic,” the Brazil international said. “It was a good step, but there are 90 minutes left."