History was made in the Estadio Monumental José Fierro on Thursday night as Atlético Tucumán successfully overturned their first leg defeat to Junior to claim a place in the Copa Libertadores group stage for the first time.
Last season’s lofty league position and subsequent qualification to the pre-qualifying rounds was achievement enought but El Decano secured a spot in group five after a 3-1 second leg victory.
A sluggish Junior side were severely punished in the opening 30 minutes with Rodrigo Aliendro, Cristian Menéndez and Fernando Zampedri all profiting from slack defending to thrust El Decano into a three-goal lead within half an hour.
Pablo Lavallén’s were cruising into the group stage but there was enough time for things to become very nervy.
Sebastián Hernández rifled a goal back with less than ten minutes to play and were it not for the superb reflexes of Cristian Luchetti, the Colombians would have snatched a second to nick the tie on away goals.
The home side held on and will now face Peñarol, Palmeiras and Jorge Wilstermann in group five.
Atlético Tucumán 3 – 1 Junior (AGG 3-2)