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Defending champion Atletico Nacional eliminated from Copa Libertadores

COPA LIBERTADORES SOCCER | 19 de mayo de 2017

Rio de Janeiro, May 19 (efe-epa).- Defending champion Atletico Nacional has been eliminated from this year's edition of the Copa Libertadores as a result of its 1-0 defeat to Brazil's Botafogo in its second-to-last round-robin match.

The Medellin, Colombia-based side is now in last place in Group 1 with just three points, seven behind Botafogo and the group's leader, Ecuador's Barcelona, in South America's premier club soccer tournament.

Both Botafogo and Barcelona have already booked berths in the competition's round of 16.

The Brazilian club recorded its second victory of the tournament over Atletico Nacional on Thursday night at Nilton Santos Olympic Stadium in Rio de Janeiro thanks to a goal by striker Rodrigo Pimpao shortly after halftime.

Botafogo appeared on the verge of opening the scoring on several occasions in the first half, but Roger squandered one golden opportunity when his shot from close range clanked off the post in the second minute and three other apparent goals were called back for offside.

Even so, despite missing key attacking players Sassa and Airton, Botafogo got what proved to be the winning goal in the 50th minute when Pimpao received a perfectly placed pass on the right side from Rodrigo Lindoso and fired a shot inside the far post that gave Atletico Nacional netminder Franco Armani no chance.

Ten minutes later, Atletico Nacional head coach Reinaldo Rueda sent on Luis Carlos Ruiz as a replacement for midfielder Aldo Ramirez in search of an offensive spark but his team had no answers for Botafogo's well-organized defense in the game's latter stage.

The winner and runner-up in Group 1 will be determined in the final round-robin matches next week that pit Botafogo against Estudiantes in La Plata, Argentina, and Barcelona against Atletico Nacional in Medellin.

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