Ten-man Palmeiras seal Libertadores knockout berth

Sao Paulo, April 12 (IANS) Midfielder Charles struck a second-half winner as 10-man Palmeiras secured a place in the Copa Libertadores knockout phase with a 1-0 victory over Libertad.

Playmaker Wesley created the assist for Charles’ 52nd-minute strike before he turned villain when he was sent off for a second yellow card after a rash challenge on Nelson Romero, reports Xinhua.

But Palmeiras withstood a dominant final half-hour by the Paraguayan club to clinch an unlikely victory at the Pacaembu Stadium Thursday.

The result lifted the Brazilian outfit to the top of Group 2 and guaranteed their passage to the round of 16 with a game in hand.

“This is such a happy moment, especially because of the way we managed to win,” a jubilant Palmeiras coach Gilson Kleina said after the match.

“Once again we have been presented with great obstacles and once again we have been able to overcome them. When you see the players lift the way they did because of the support of the fans, it really is a magical feeling.”

Palmeiras, Brazil’s most successful club alongside Santos with eight Serie A titles, were last December relegated to the second division for only the second time in their history.

They qualified for the Copa Libertadores, South America’s elite club competition, by virtue of winning the 2012 Copa do Brasil.

In other matches Thursday Olimpia defeated Newell’s Old Boys 4-1 and Universidad de Chile won away 3-2 to Deportivo Lara.

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