In the early hours of tomorrow morning the first leg of the final of the 52nd Edition of the Copa Libertadores takes place in the historical Estádio Centenario in Montevideo as five time champions Peñarol take on two time winners Santos of Brazil. Peñarol were the first ever winners of the competition, winning the first two editions in 1960 and 1961 before losing their crown to Santos in the 1962 final. Santos then retained the title in 1963 and have yet to record another victory in the competition since. It's also been a long time between drinks for Peñarol as well, their last victory coming in 1987 against América of Colombia with a last minute extra time goal in the play-off final.
Santos struggled to get out of their group, scraping through on the last day of the group stage thanks to winning their last three group games after opening with two draws and a defeat. Peñarol also squeezed out of their group on the last day of the group stage despite losing at home to Independiente of Argentina. Their group campaign same them suffer a 5-0 humping at LDU Quito. The knockout stages have been a different kettle of fish for both sides with them both finally finding some form.
Santos will be without Paulo Henrique Ganso, who is still struggling with a thigh injury but will welcome back Bruno Aguair and Bruno Rodrigo, who both missed the trip to Asunción for the second leg of the semi final. They have also had a warning from Santos legend Pelé to respect their opponents after he called into their training camp after their arrival in Montevideo. For Peñarol, if it ain't broke don't fix it, as they will go with the side that got them to the final despite their defeat to Vélez Sarsfield in that game.
Also up for grabs is a place in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup which takes place in Japan in December where a likely meeting with UEFA Champions League winners FC Barcelona awaits.
Possible Line Ups
Peñarol - Sosa; G Rodriguez, D Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Valdez; Aguiar, Freitas, Corujo, Mier; Olivera, Martinuccio.
Santos - Rafael; Bruno Aguiar, Bruno Rodrigo, Edu Dracena, Sandro; Adriano, Arouca, Danilo, Elano; Ze Eduardo, Neymar.
Peñarol - Route to Final
Group Matchday 1 - Independiente 3-0 Peñarol
Group Matchday 2 - Godoy Cruz 1-3 Peñarol
Group Matchday 3 - Peñarol 1-0 LDU Quito
Group Matchday 4 - LDU Quito 5-0 Peñarol
Group Matchday 5 - Peñarol 2-1 Godoy Cruz
Group Matchday 6 - Peñarol 0-1 Independiente
Round of 16 1st Leg - Peñarol 1-1 Internacional
Round of 16 2nd Leg - Internacional 1-2 Peñarol
Quarter Final 1st Leg - Peñarol 2-0 universidad Católica
Quarter Final 2nd Leg - Universidad Católica 2-1 Peñarol
Semi Final 1st Leg - Peñarol 1-0 Vélez Sarsfield
Semi Final 2nd Leg - Vélez Sarsfield 2-1 Peñarol
Santos - Route to Final
Group Matchday 1 - Deportivo Táchira 0-0 Santos
Group Matchday 2 - Santos 1-1 Cerro Porteño
Group Matchday 3 - Colo Colo 3-2 Santos
Group Matchday 4 - Santos 3-2 Colo Colo
Group Matchday 5 - Cerro Porteño 1-2 Santos
Group Matchday 6 - Santos 3-1 Deportivo Táchira
Round of 16 1st Leg - Santos 1-0 América (MEX)
Round of 16 2nd Leg - América (MEX) 0-0 Santos
Quarter Final 1st Leg - Once Caldas 0-1 Santos
Quarter Final 2nd Leg - Santos 1-1 Once Caldas
Semi Final 1st Leg - Santos 1-0 Cerro Porteño
Semi Final 2nd Leg - Cerro Porteño 3-3 Santos
The game is live on Premier Sports TV at 0145 with friend of the site Will Downing calling the action.
The return leg takes place a week later at the Pacaembu and will also be covered by Premier Sports TV
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