Having seen San Lorenzo, Huracán and River Plate all be eliminated already from this year’s Copa Libertadores, Racing were looking to be the first Argentine club guaranteed a place in the quarter finals. After a goalless draw with Atlético Mineiro in Avellaneda, La Academia needed a result in Belo Horizonte and despite a brave effort, the Brazilian side edged past them thanks in no small part to former Vélez striker Lucas Pratto.
Racing had threatened early with Lisandro López clipping the post but it was the home side that took the lead in the tie after fifteen minutes when Carlos flicked the ball past Nelson Ibáñez in the Racing goal.
It didn’t take long for Racing to draw level and once more López was at the centre. The veteran striker won the penalty after being scythed down by Leandro Donizete before getting up to slot in the equaliser.
The away goal rule gave Racing the advantage and so Atlético Mineiro knew they needed a goal. Lucas Pratto provided the first warning sign when he crashed a shot from outside the box against the underside of the bar but in the 72nd minute the Argentine got his goal. A free kick into a crowded penalty area was met by the head of Pratto and from close range, Ibáñez was helpless.
Pratto had the chance to wrap up the result five minutes from time after Nicolás Sánchez was penalised for handball but Ibáñez saved his spotkick to set up a tense finale.
Racing were unable to find the vital goal that would have put them through despite throwing on Gustavo Bou and Diego Milito and so Argentina lost it’s fourth representative. Atlético Mineiro will now face São Paulo in an all-Brazilian quarter final after they came through their tie against Toluca.
Atlético Mineiro 2 – 1 Racing Club (AGG 2-1)