In 2014 Ignacio Piatti struck an 88th-minute, third and vital goal against Botafogo for San Lorenzo to sneak out of their Copa Libertadores group on goal difference. That year, Edgardo Bauza’s side went on to lift the trophy for the first time in the club’s history but they have since fallen at this hurdle in each of the two subsequent tournaments.
On Wednesday evening, back in the Nuevo Gasómetro and against Brazilian opposition, Los Cuervos were facing another group stage exit. Simultaneously, a thrilling encounter in Santiago had Atlético Paranaense beating Universidad Católica and with Flamengo holding on for a point in Bajo Flores, San Lorenzo’s rollercoaster evening was heading for disaster.
Marcos Angeleri’s diving header fifteen minutes from time had cancelled out Rodinei’s early opener for Flamengo but with Atlético Paranaense coming back to win in Chile, a point wasn’t good enough for San Lorenzo.
However, as the clock ticked into the last minute of added time, the ball bobbled in the Flamengo penalty area and Fernando Belluschi pounced to rifle it past goalkeeper Alex Muralha.
The Nuevo Gasómetro exploded and with victory San Lorenzo had not only managed to qualify, after gaining just a single point from their opening three matches, but had reached the knockout stages as group six winners.
After defeat to Temperley less than a month ago, Diego Aguirre looked certain for the chop and San Lorenzo’s league and Copa Libertadores hopes looked lost. Nahuel Barrios’ late winner against Universidad Católica a few days later has sparked an extraordinary upturn in form and six consecutive victories later, Los Cuervos are firmly in the Primera title race and now dreaming of a second Libertadores title.