Atletico take emotional third place in Japan


Yokohama (Japan) (AFP) – Atletico Nacional beat Mexico’s Club America 4-3 on penalties to finish third at the FIFA Club World Cup on Sunday after an emotional three weeks for the Colombian side.

Miguel Borja swept home the decisive spot kick to seal victory for the reigning Libertadores Cup holders after they had squandered a two-goal lead over the 90 minutes in Yokohama.

Atletico, who failed to reach the final in Japan following their incidental part in the air tragedy that decimated Brazilian rivals Chapecoense last month, looked as if they would run away with the third-place clash after an explosive start.

Embarrassed by a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Japan’s Kashima Antlers in midweek, Atletico went ahead after just six minutes through a Miguel Samudio own goal.

Alejandro Guerra slammed in a second, but Michael Arroyo pulled one back with a ferocious volley seven minutes before the break. Substitute Oribe Peralta lashed home the equaliser from the penalty spot to make it 2-2.

Atletico, who made headlines when Chapecoense’s squad were all but wiped out by a plane crash while en route to play them in the Copa Sudamericana final, were cheered by a huge contingent of fans, many waving Chape flags in tribute to the fallen side.

“We felt the tragedy very acutely and discussed it with the players many times,” Atletico coach Reinaldo Rueda told reporters.

“They are professional footballers but still terrible things like this can happen. We can understand the pain the families and loved ones of Chapecoense must be suffering and it was on our mind while we played here in Japan.”

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