Peñarol 0-0 Santos
It's all to play for in the Copa Libertadores Final when over 60,000 fans packed the Estadio Centenario for the first leg last night. Several clear chances were wasted by both sides as it finished goalless in Montevideo.
Both teams had early chances to take the lead. Inspired by a display of lights and flags from their fans, Alejandro Martinuccio tested Rafael when he got possession at the top of the box. Unfortunately the Argentine lost his footing and the shot was poor. Juan Manuel Olivera nearly put Peñarol ahead from close range but Rafael blocked the shot.
It was a positive start by the home side, looking to take an early advantage over their Brazilian rivals but Santos began to find their feet. Their best opportunity of the first half came after Neymar took on the Peñarol defenders before finding Alex Sandro, who tested home custodian Sebastian Sosa. Santos then came even closer when a Bruno Rodrigo header hit the woodwork moments later.
Peñarol finished the half stronger firstly Guillermo Rodríguez was left unmarked but headed straight into the hands of Rafael and moments later an attempted lob from Dario Rodríguez just went over the bar.
With the second half moments old Santos wasted the best chance of the game. Zé Eduardo wasting a golden opportunity when with only Sosa to beat the goalkeeper somehow kept his shot out. 20 minutes from time, Santos again could have broken the deadlock when Neymar found Sandro on the overlap and the cross found Zé Eduardo on the back post who headed inches wide.
Peñarol then had three chances of their own. Martinuccio again failed to test Rafael, substitute Fabian Estoyanoff did test Rafael who was up to the task and moments later Juan Manuel Olivera's effort was just wide.
With five minutes to go Peñarol thought they had broken the dealock when Diego Alonso finally put the ball in the back of the net after Rafael had fumbled a shot. The Centenario went bonkers only to be denied by the upraised flag of the Paraguayan assistant, who was proved correct by television replays.
Despite being five time winners Peñarol have never actually lifted the trophy on home soil, this year marks the 50th anniversary of their second title and ironically, the second leg is at the Pacaembu in São Paulo which was the site of that triumph against Palmeiras in 1961. Remember away goals do not count in the final of this competition and if we are level after regulation next week then extra time will be played with a penalty competition to follow to decide the outcome if we are still level.
The game is next Thursday morning at 0150 and will be live on Premier Sports TV.
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