Olimpia of Paraguay won 2-0 at home against Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro on Wednesday in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final.
Alejandro Silva scored on a left-footed shot in the 23rd-minute that went in off the near post to beat keeper Victor, and Wilson Pittoni added a potentially vital second goal with a free kick deep into second-half stoppage time.
The second leg is next Wednesday in the Brazilian city of Belo Horizonte.
Brazilian clubs have won the past three titles – Corinthians, Santos and Internacional – but Pittoni’s late goal meant Atletico face an uphill task in the second leg to make it four straight.
After Silva’s opener, Juan Maneul Salgueiro just missed making it 2-0 to Olimpia in the 37th minute with a shot that rolled inches wide. He was in alone down the left minutes later, but failed to hit his shot squarely.
He also had openings in the second half as did teammate Fredy Jose Bareiro Diego Tardelli, who teamed up often with strike partner Ronaldinho for Atletico, had several chances early in the second half to equalise for the Brazilians.
Olimpia too spurned numerous chances to get a second goal and needed goalkeeper Martin Silva to make several key saves to preserve the one-goal advantage before Pittoni directed a perfect free kick just under the crossbar three minutes into stoppage time.
Atletico’s Richarlyson was sent off with his second yellow card in the 89th.
Olimpia are seeking their fourth title. It’s the first time in the final for Atletico Mineiro.