Nacional on Wednesday received a last-gasp lifeline from substitute Julio Santa Cruz as the Paraguayan club eked out a draw in the first-leg of its two-game Copa Libertadores final series against San Lorenzo, which finished 1-1 in Asuncion.
Though the Argentine visitor dominated throughout, Nacional keeper Ignacio Don kept his team in the game, despite going behind to a 65th minute goal from Mauro Matos. In the end, Nacional’s only shot of the game was converted by substitute Santa Cruz -- younger brother of former Paraguay international Roque -- in the third minute of stoppage time to give the home team a lifeline heading into the second-leg in Buenos Aires on Aug 13.
"I think we were dominated by a San Lorenzo side that played very well, that played more calmly than us," Nacional coach Gustavo Morinigo said. "Our players were very nervous (but) we got a draw at the end that allows to go and fight for the Cup.”
Meanwhile, Nacional will be boosted by the news that San Lorenzo playmaker Ignacio Piatti, who terrorized the Nacional defense on Wednesday, will miss the second-leg due to his transfer to MLS club Montreal Impact, as the North American transfer window closes on Thursday.