Elano leads Gremio to Libertadores group stage

Porto Alegre (Brazil), Jan 31 (IANS) Brazilian club Gremio qualified for the group phase of the Copa Libertadores with a dramatic 5-4 penalty shootout victory over Ecuador's Liga de Quito at Arena do Gremio.

Former Manchester City midfielder Elano levelled the scores 1-1 on aggregate with a thumping 62nd-minute strike from outside the area that gave visiting goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez no chance Wednesday, reports Xinhua.

The visitors were reduced to 10-men with three minutes remaining when Koob Hurtado was shown a red card for a rash challenge on Jean Deretti.

Gremio had goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe to thank in the penalty shootout when he made two saves to ensure the team's passage to the group phase beginning Feb 12.

"We won this game in the first leg when we went to Quito and trained for 10 days at altitude to come away with a 0-1 result that gave ourselves every chance to go through to the next round," Gremio coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo said after the match.

Gremio's Brazilian rivals Sao Paulo also advanced to the group stage with an 8-4 aggregate victory over Bolivar despite a 3-4 loss in La Paz Wednesday.

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