Velez leads Argentine clubs in Copa Libertadores

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 11, 2014 at 9:58 am •  Published: April 11, 2014

SAO PAULO (AP) — Velez Sarsfield finished with the best record in the group stage of the Copa Libertadores, leading three other Argentine clubs into the second round.

Three Brazilian teams, including defending champion Atletico Mineiro, led by Ronaldinho, also advanced in Latin America's top club competition.

The group stage ended Thursday with Paraguayan club Nacional and Colombian team Nacional de Medellin grabbing the last two spots in the round of 16.

It is the first time in more than 10 years that Brazil doesn't have the most teams in the second round. Brazilian clubs have won the competition four straight years and reached the final nine consecutive times.

Argentina is looking to win the tournament for the first time since Estudiantes lifted the trophy in 2009.

Velez Sarsfield won five of its six group matches. The only loss came in the high altitude of La Paz against Bolivian club the Strongest. Velez will now play Nacional, which advanced by beating Colombian club Santa Fe 3-2 on Thursday.

Velez is seeking its second Copa Libertadores title, and first since 1994. Because if finished with the best record, it will carry home-field advantage into the knockout stages.

Two-time champion Gremio finished with the second-best record in the first round after beating Uruguayan club Nacional 1-0 with a goal by Argentine striker Hernan Barcos on Thursday. Police said 25 people were detained during the match because of fan violence at the Arena Gremio in Brazil.

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