The Copa Libertadores will know this week which will be the two teams that will play the grand final in Maracana on January 30, after the semi-final second leg between Palmeiras and River, on the one hand, and Santos and Boca, on the other.
River Plate, finalist of the previous edition – lost the title at the hands of Flamengo in the final minutes of the game, after going ahead for almost the entire game – and that reached these semifinals as the great favorite, has all the ballots to stay on the road after the blow that Palmeiras hit him last week at the Monumental stadium, a 0-3 that if not considered absolutely definitive is only due to the innumerable samples of character that the Argentine team has had in this cycle led by Marcelo Gallardo.
River needs a miracle
As their coach put it, ‘millionaires’ depend on “putting together a perfect match” to turn history around. Something similar to what their opponents, those led by the Portuguese Abel Ferreira, did in Buenos Aires, where they took advantage of each of the local errors and specified each action they had of real danger to put a foot and a half in the great clash for the Cup.
The Allianz Parque stadium in Sao Paulo will host this rematch, which will determine if Palmeiras, winner of the tournament in 1999, returns to a defining duel 20 years later or if River, four times champion (1986, 1996, 2015 and 2018), disputes his third consecutive final.
If in that key the thing seems already judged, just the opposite happens in the other, in which everything is open after the 0-0 last week at La Bombonera. Boca Juniors avoided being scored at home and that is why it has the advantage that any tie with goals puts it in the final, which would be the 12th in its history (it was champion in 1977, 1978, 2000, 2001, 2003 and 2007).
For his part, Santos will try to take advantage of his local status in this rematch, in which he will seek to be for the fifth time in the game for the trophy, which he raised in the 1962, 1963 and 2011 editions.
Coronavirus and controversy
The confrontation at the Vila Belmiro stadium comes framed in a strong controversy with the coronavirus as the main axis: after the first leg it was learned that John and Wagner, footballers of the Brazilian team, tested positive, and from the Argentine side there was speculation that the rival had knowledge of this before the game and that still he sent the players to the field. The possibility of requesting Conmebol for the first leg points was even mentioned.
After a few days called for silence, the one who exploded in the last hours was Cuca, coach of ‘Peixe’: “I have been 35 years in this and it is a shame what they have done, it has been thought. It is not true that we knew of the two positives. All played with the negative test in hand and with the regulatory controls. How am I going to want to take advantage of the coronavirus? I was hospitalized for four days and my father-in-law died from this. I would never do such a thing. “