SAO PAULO (AP)– Argentinian archrivals River Plate and Boca Juniors stopped working to beat their Brazilian opponents in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores semifinals and are now in risk of missing the Jan. 30 decider at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro.

Six-time champion Boca, which hasn’t won the South American title given that 2007, had a 0-0 draw with Santos on Wednesday in a match with few chances for either group at the La Bombonera stadium. The second leg will be played in Brazil next week.

” It is still open for us,” Boca striker Carlos Tevez stated. “Santos had 5 players just to protect, but at home they will have to come at us.”

Santos, which reached the semifinals with a team of unfamiliar youngsters, has actually won 3 Copa Libertadores in its history– 2 led by Pelé and another with Neymar in 2011.

Four-time winner River Plate is even less likely to play the last after Tuesday’s 3-0 crushing by Palmeiras, which is seeking its 2nd title in the tournament.

The Brazilian club, coached by Portugal’s Abel Ferreira, opened the scoring in Buenos Aires in the 27th minute by means of striker Rony after River missed two clear opportunities in front of goalkeeper Weverton.

Previous A/C Milan forward Luis Adriano scored the 2nd for Palmeiras in the 47th and defender Matías Viña made it 3-0 with a header from set piece in the 62nd.

The second leg will be played in Sao Paulo on Tuesday.

” It will take us an epic night to go to the last,” River coach Marcelo Gallardo stated.

If Palmeiras and Santos advance, it will be the third time 2 Brazilian clubs satisfy in the final of the South American competition. The last at the Maracanã will be played in an empty stadium because of constraints in place throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.


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