Olimpia of Paraguay have made sure that they are a tough and unbeatable home team during the 2013 Copa Libertadores tournament, aka South America’s Champions League. The team has won every home game and scored at least two goals or more in each home game.
On Wednesday night in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores Final against Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro, Olimpia continued to win and score at least two goals at home as they won 2-0 and will take that advantage with them to Belo Horizonte next Wednesday in the return leg.
Olimpia came out playing in a 4-5-1 formation, which sought to shutdown the Atlético Mineiro midfield, and it’s ability to do what it does best and that is attack and press opposition teams in their own defensive half. As a result, it was Olimpia who consistently looked more dangerous during the entire first half.
Olimpia would take the lead at the 23rd minute as Alejandro Silva would score by receiving the ball 25 yards out from goal, beat two defenders on his run and shoot it past the goalkeeper Victor. Olimpia continued to press and look for the 2-0 for the rest of the first half and came close twice, once on an effort by Juan Mnauel Salgueiro and the other from a header by Freddy Bareiro.
The second half played out just like the first half did with Olimpia being the team that were the aggressors on attack, cheered on by a ruckus home crowd. What stood out was how Ronaldinho, was even less ineffective in the second half than he was in the first half as Mineiro only had one clear scoring chance in the second half.
Just when it seemed like Mineiro would consider itself fortunate to only lose 1-0, Wilson Pittoni, scored a free kick that resembled those scored lately by Andrea Pirlo in stoppage time to give Olimpia the 2-0 win. That goal scored by Pittoni cemented his man of the match performance as it was Pittoni who orchestrated the Olimpia attack and made it play as well as it did.
Olimpia are 90 minutes away from claiming it’s fourth career Copa Libertadores title. Atlético Mineiro clearly were far below it’s best and even though it could use the excuse that midfielder Bernard was out due to yellow card accumulation suspension, it still could have played better. Now Mineiro has faced this situation before as in their semifinal tie it lost 2-0 in the first leg to then win 2-0 in the second leg and then advance on penalties against Newell’s Old Boys. That said, it will need an inspired performance and ice cold veins in front of goal to repeat that feat.