The first leg of the Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro Copa Libertadores Final will take place at the Estadio Defensores del Chaco in Asuncion, Paraguay on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM Pacific. Both teams have come a long way, and can see the coveted title in front of them, it is only a matter of 180 minutes of soccer to proclaim South America’s champion.
Update: Olimpia defeated Atletico Mineiro 2-0 in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores. Here are the highlights of the Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro final.
How did Atletico Mineiro reach the final of the Libertadores?
Atletico Mineiro has had an incredible journey on the way to the Copa Libertadores 2013 Final. It started easy enough, Mineiro was able to earn 15 out of a possible 18 points in the Group stage, sweeping aside teams such as Arsenal, Sao Paulo and The Strongest. In the Round of 16, Mineiro once again faced group rival Sao Paulo, and crushed them with an aggregate score of 6-2. The easy ride would end there.
Atletico Mineiro went on to face the powerful, yet underrated, Xolos Tijuana from Mexico. Tijuana was the better team throughout the 180 minutes of the quarterfinal, but had key misses that cost them the elimination. The biggest was, of course, a 91st minute penalty kick in the second leg by Duvier Riascos. Had Riascos converted the pk, Xolos would have moved on to the semifinal.
In the end Riascos missed, and Mineiro moved on with an aggregate score of 3-3, due to the away goals rules (first leg in Tijuana ended 2-2). The semifinal match up against Newell’s Old Boys would also be decided in the very last play of the game. Mineiro lost the first leg in Argentina 2-0. However, they played a brilliant return leg and won 2-0 at home, forcing the game into penalty kicks. The Brazilians overcame the Argentinians and now face the Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro match for the title.
Was Olimpia’s journey to the final as spectacular?
Olimpia’s story isn’t as amazing as Mineiro’s (it’s pretty hard to top that!), but it doesn’t mean their path to the Cope Libertadores final was any easier. Olimpia also won its group, earning 13 points overall. In the Round of 16, Olimpia overcame an away first leg 2-1 loss by defeating Tigre 2-0 at home and moving on to the quarterfinals.
Against Fluminense in the quarterfinals, Olimpia got a 0-0 away tie, and finished off the Brazilians with a 2-1 win in Asuncion. In the semifinal series against Santa Fe, Olimpia won the home leg 2-0, and held off the Colombians 1-0 in the second leg to make it to the final.
Olimpia is a feisty team that is yet to taste defeat at home in the Copa Libertadores, Atletico Mineiro will have an extremely difficult time in Asuncion. It’s also important to note that the away goal rules does not matter in the final series. This might lead to a very defensive game from Mineiro, which might try to get a 0-0 draw in order to leave it all up to the home match.
Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro Prediction
The Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro match will be a rough encounter with a low scoreline. Atletico Mineiro knows that it doesn’t need to score, as there is no away goal advantage; a simple 0-0 draw would suffice, everything would then be defined in Brazil. Olimpia is undefeated at home, and will want to get the win, without risking a loss however. Olimpia will attack modestly, focusing on keeping a clean sheet as well.
Even though the away goal rule will not apply in the Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro Final, Olimpia cannot risk a loss at home. It would mean having to defeat Mineiro in Brazil, a nearly impossible task. Although a draw would not be a great result for Olimpia, the team has the grit to fight Mineiro in Brazil to a draw. Look for the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final to end in a draw.
The Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro final will end in a 1-1 draw, everything will be resolved in the second leg in Belo Horizonte. Look for Olimpia to dominate possession without creating too many scoring opportunities. Mineiro will rely on speedy counterattacks, and hope Ronaldinho has an amazing game that takes them closer to the title.
Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro Television
The Olimpia vs Atletico Mineiro match will be televised on Fox Deportes on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 4:50 PM Pacific.