Saturday, 4 June 2011

Copa Libertadores Semi Final Second Leg

Cerro Porteño 3-3 Santos
Santos advances 4-1 on points

Santos continue their quest for their first title since 1963 after advancing to the final after ending up drawing in Asunción against Cerro Porteño. With just two minutes on the clock Santos doubled their aggregate lead and got a vital away goal when Zé Eduardo headed home an Elano free kick. A bizarre own goal doubled the Santos lead, Pedro Benítez attempted head the ball back to his keeper Diego Baretto but the stopped ended up punching the ball into his own net. Cerro Porteño got a foothold on the night four minutes later when César Benitez headed home a corner from substitute Juan Iturbe. Santos seemed to have nailed the lid shut on the tie when they restored their two goal lead right on the break, Neymar firing home from the edge of the area. The home side didn't give up and reduced the deficit on the hour when Juan Lucero volleyed past Rafael. With nine minutes to go, Jonathan Fabbro levelled with the goal of the night to produce a climax but Santos had their away goals in the bank as a safety net. Santos will be without captain Edu Dracena for the first leg of the final after he stupidly got himself sent off in injury time but they are in the final for the first time since 2003, when they lost to Boca Juniors of Argentina.

A couple of things away from the action, the laser pens were again much in evidence again on Wednesday night with Neymar and Rafael targeted on a number of occasions. Also, some credit to the groundsman who produced a quite amazing pitch pattern which you can see on the highlights.

Vélez Sarsfield 2-1 Peñarol
3-3 on points, Peñarol advances on the away goal rule

Peñarol will meet Santos in the two legged semi final after some late drama saw them qualify courtesy of the away goals rule against Vélez Sarsfield. The visitors opened the scoring and grabbed a vital way goal with thirty-four minutes gone. Midfielder Matias Meir fired home after good work from the forward partnership of Juan Manuel Oliveira and Alejandro Martinuccio. Vélez were denied when Juan Manuel Martínez was ruled offside, despite video evidence to the contrary and Santiago Silva had a penalty claim turned down. Just before the break, Vélez were level on the night when Peñarol goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa fumbled a Maxi Moralez free kick and and substitute Fernando Tobio put the ball over the line. Juan Manuel Oliveira should have put the tie to bed for Peñarol half way through the second half but he put his shot wide and within a minute Vélez were ahead. Juan Martínez setting up Santiago Silva whose shot went in off the post. Vélez were now a goal away from advancing but they were reduced to ten men just two minutes later when Fernando Ortiz was sent off for his second yellow card of the game. The drama didn't end there, with fifteen minutes left the home side were awarded a penalty when Martínez was bought down and the Uruguayan Santiago Silva had the chance to dump his countrymen out of the competition but he slipped when taking the kick and it ended up in row Z leaving Peñarol to hang on a claim their final berth.

So Peñarol are in with a chance of their first title since 1987 and it's been 48 years between drinks for Santos. The first leg of the final is in Montevideo on June 16 with the return at the Pacaembu a week later. Both games will be live on Premier Sports TV

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