Sao Paulo: Rogerio Ceni and Ademilson struck second-half goals as three-time champions Sao Paulo defeated Atletico Mineiro 2-0 to advance to the Copa Libertadores knockout phase.
The Brazilian outfit jumped to second in Group 3 ahead of Bolivia`s The Strongest, which slipped to third after a 1-2 away defeat to Argentina`s Arsenal de Sarandi.
The loss at Morumbi Stadium here on Wednesday was Atletico Mineiro`s first in the competition and the Brazilian club still progresses to the Round of 16 with the tournament`s best record.
After a goalless first half, Ceni broke the deadlock with a 56th-minute spot-kick after Leonardo Silva pulled down Aloisio in the area. It was the 40-year-old goalkeeper`s 112th goal for the club, considered a world record for a non-outfield player.
Second-half substitute Ademilson made it 2-0 shortly with a first-time finish from Osvaldo`s cross after a precisely weighted pass by Paulo Henrique Ganso. Afterwards a jubilant Ceni admitted he had feared the match would be his last in the Copa Libertadores, a tournament he has won twice in a decorated 21-year career.
"It went through my head that this might be it and I really didn`t want it to end that way. I still think I have something to give and so does this team. We made a slow start to the tournament but now we have arrived," said Ceni, who won 17 international caps for Brazil between 1997 and 2006.
In other games on Wednesday, six-time winners Boca Juniors lost 2-3 to Toluca but qualified second in their group behind Nacional, who stumbled 0-1 away to Barcelona de Guayaquil.