Ponte Preta, Lanus draw first leg
Ponte Preta and Lanus could not be separated in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final as they played out a 1-1 draw in Sao Paulo.
A free-kick from each side provided the goals, with Paolo Goltz scoring for Lanus in the 57th minute and Felipe Bastos levelling 11 minutes later.
The pair will head back to the Buenos Aires suburbs next week to decide the tie, with away goals not taken into account should the second leg also end in a draw.
Lanus could have taken an earlier lead as Uruguayan striker Santiago Silva missed an incredible opportunity in the closing moments of the first period, when Jorge Pereyra-Diaz crossed the ball and he wasted the chance with the net empty.
Goltz then stepped up with a set-piece strike to ensure the visitors did belatedly take the advantage.
With 22 minutes remaining, Bastos equalised for the hosts with another free-kick that left keeper Agustin Marchesin with no chance.
The last five minutes of the game saw Ponte Preta go agonisingly close to victory as another free-kick by Bastos hit the crossbar.
Goltz told Fox Sports: "We played a good game, but Ponte Preta control dead balls very well and they are like penalties for them.
"Anyway, we will decide the tie at home and we’ll fight for the title. We are satisfied with the score and I’m personally happy with the goal."
Keeper Marchesin added: "We clinched a good result. Ponte Preta took risks. We did not expect a match like this, but we are hopeful we can do our job well at home."
Despite the draw, Ponte Preta midfielder Elias is sure his team can react and win the title in Argentina.
He told Lancenet.com.br: "We have a bad taste because of what we did in this game. We were better and created more opportunities than Lanus.
"It won’t be easy in Argentina. We are aware of that. But we’ll go for the title even as visitors."