Lanús booked their place in the Copa Sudamericana last 16 on Wednesday evening in the most dramatic fashion as Nicolás Orsini’s stoppage goal fired El Granate past São Paulo on away goals in Morumbi.
Orsini’s goal wasn’t enough to prevent defeat on the night but came only minutes after Gabriel Sara’s 90th minute header had looked to have clinched a late come-from-behind win for the Brazilians.
The injury time winner in the first leg gave Lanús the slightest of margins that had left much still to do and yet when Pedro De La Vega unleashed a fierce 30-yard thunderbolt past Thiago Volpi after quarter of an hour momentum shifted once more.
The disappointment of a group stage exit in the Copa Libertadores still fresh in the minds of São Paulo a reaction was needed and they got that as veteran Dani Alves rose to head in at a corner.
But just as the Brazilians were beginning to peg back their visitors a defensive lapse allowed Brian Aguirre to score his first senior goal and restore Lanús’ lead.
With no other option but to attack São Paulo threw caution to the wind and substitute Pablo pulled a goal back just after the hour mark. A visibly tiring Lanús now holding on to their lead with everything they had.
With time running down the Brazilians looked virtually out of ideas until defender Nicolás Thaller headed into his own net to level sending the tie to penalties with three minutes left. Not even the drama of a shootout could compare to the next few minutes.
Another cross into the Lanús box produced a perceived winner for Gabriel Sara. In an instant it was the Brazilians now eager to waste time and make defensive substitutions but it made no difference. Lanús went straight on the attack and Orsini found an inexplicable amount of space in the penalty box to slot in a vital third away goal.
The Copa Sudamericana will struggle to witness a more dramatic finish but it’s Lanús who will play Bolívar in the last 16.
São Paulo 4 – 3 Lanús (AGG 6-6) Lanús advance on away goals
Things were certainly not as entertaining in Montevideo but late action saw Vélez Sarsfield edge past Peñarol.
A dull second leg looked to be heading to a goalless conclusion just as the first encounter had until a soft penalty decision gifted Vélez the chance to win it. Just as he did in the previous round in Venezuela, Thiago Almada stepped up and unerringly found the top corner and although a second questionable penalty gave Cristian Rodríguez an equaliser for Peñarol, the away goal had already sealed it.
The Uruguayans had been the better side over the two legs but were unable to make it count so Vélez get another chance to adapt to new manager Mauricio Pellegrino.
Back in Argentina, Defensa y Justicia made it three out of three with a 1-1 draw against Sportivo Luqueño, enough to secure a 3-2 aggregate victory.
An unimpressive performance from Hernán Crespo’s side allowed the Paraguayans to draw level on aggregate when goalkeeper Ezequiel Unsain fumbled a free-kick into striker Emanuel Morales for a simple goal.
And while the visitors still needed another trailing on away goals, Defensa y Justicia had just enough to exploit the space left in behind. Loanee Braian Romero equalised on the counter, his fifth in six CONMEBOL games since coming to the club, and it made certain of El Halcón’s place in the next round.