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Copa Lib: Mineiro Thrashes Sao Paulo to Reach Quarterfinal

  • Reuters, Thursday, May 9, 2013 1:09 PM

It was the Ronaldinho and Jo show on Wednesday night as Atletico Mineiro thrashed Sao Paulo 4-1 in Belo Horizonte, comfortably winning the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 series 6-2 on aggregate. Ronaldinho controlled midfield with his range of passing and a few brilliant solo runs, including this one, while striker Jo bagged a hat trick, as Atletico lived up to its billing as the tournament favorite. For three-time South American champion Sao Paulo, the loss was its worst-ever defeat in the competition.

"It was a team effort because from the first minute we showed that at the Independencia we are strong," former Everton and Manchester City striker Jo said after the match. "Once again we managed to win with these marvelous fans, it's not any team that puts four past Sao Paulo."

Speaking to Globo after the game, Sao Paulo director Adalberto Baptista defused speculation that head coach Ney Franco would be sacked for the lopsided result.  "We have to accept (our elimination), congratulate Atletico, they played a good match from the start, dominated the match,” he said. "There's only one measure to be taken, we have to work a lot. The (Brazilian) championship is very long and we have to start well... with Ney Franco, for sure, until the end of the year."

In the other Round of 16 series, Brazilian champion Fluminese defeated Ecuadorian side Emelec 2-0, 3-2 on aggregate, to advance to the Copa Libertadores quarterfinals. 

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