SAO PAULO, May 14 (Reuters) - Corinthians had two men sent off and conceded a late goal to crash out of the Libertadores Cup following a 1-0 home defeat against Paraguay’s Guarani on Wednesday.
Full back Fabio Santos was sent off for a nasty challenge in the 52nd minute and Jadson followed him 17 minutes later after appearing to slap an opponent as the home side’s frustration boiled over against a resolute opponent.
Guarani took full advantage of their numerical advantage with Fernando Fernandez slotting home an injury-time winner to secure a remarkable 3-0 aggregate win for the modest Paraguayan club.
Guarani’s best performance to date in South America’s equivalent of the Champions League came in 1966 when they reached the semi-final stage.
They had not reached the last 16 since 1997 and have only a fraction of the resources of their Brazilian opponents with their 1-0 win putting the finishing touches on a miserable night for Sao Paulo clubs.
Earlier in the evening, Corinthians’ city rivals Sao Paulo were also eliminated by fellow Brazilians Cruzeiro, who won 4-3 on penalties after the home side edged the game by a single goal to level the aggregate score at 1-1.
Leandro Damiao got the crucial goal after 54 minutes before goalkeeper Fabio took over the role of hero, saving two Sao Paulo’s spot kicks in the shootout, including one from centre forward Luis Fabiano.
In the night’s other tie, Internacional defeated Atletico Mineiro 3-1 at home to qualify 5-3 on aggregate.
Argentine pair Lisandro Lopez and Andres D‘Alessandro got two of Inter’s goals and in-form midfielder Valdivia added a third. Another Argentine, Lucas Pratto, got Atletico’s consolation.
Atletico Mineiro were the last Brazilian side to win the competition in 2013, a year after Corinthians won it for the first time.
Inter face Colombian side Independiente Santa Fe in the quarter finals, after they knocked out Argentine club Estudiantes de La Plata on Tuesday.
Cruzeiro will now face the winner of the River Plate-Boca Juniors match. River are 1-0 up from the first leg and face their rivals at the Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires on Thursday.
Guarani will play the winner of the Montevideo Wanderers-Racing tie. (Writing by Andrew Downie; Editing by John O‘Brien)