Corinthians reached their first Copa Libertadores final courtesy of a 2-1 aggregate win over defending champions Santos on Wednesday.
Hosts Corinthians held a 1-0 lead from the first leg on June 14, but Neymar restored parity in the tie when he opened the scoring for Santos 36 minutes into the return fixture.
Corinthians managed to regain control when Danilo slotted home shortly after the break and they succeeded in shutting out the visitors to draw 1-1 in the match, and secure a 2-1 aggregate win in the all-Brazilian showdown.
Santos set out to attack from kick-off at Estadio Municipal Paulo Machado de Carvalho, while Corinthians appeared happy to soak up the pressure.
The hosts did look dangerous on the counterattack and in the 11th minute a quick break ended with Willian producing a disappointing shot from inside the area.
Corinthians began to play some crisp passing football in the Santos half and 10 minutes later they won a free kick 25 yards from goal.
Alex gave the visitors a scare as his attempt to curl the ball into the top corner was turned behind off the fingertips of Santos goalkeeper Rafael, knocking the post on its way.
Santos had struggled to penetrate Corinthians’ defence for much of the first half, but nine minutes before half-time, Cassio was beaten from one of the visitors’ first real attacks.
Neymar broke forward at pace before slipping the ball to Alan Kardec on the right. He centred the ball from close to the bye-line and Borges diverted toward the goal.
The striker’s effort came back out off the post and Neymar was on hand to tap home from close range.
Following the goal Corinthians’ forays forward became more sporadic, as they committed fewer men to attack.
Ralf volleyed well over on the stroke of half-time, and Jorge Henrique saw his header from Fabio Santos’ cross clawed away from goal in a brilliant save by Rafael.
Corinthians coach Tite introduced Liedson for Willian at the break, and it took the home side just five minutes to force the equaliser.
Alex’s free kick from wide was controlled by the unmarked Danilo at the back post, who slotted a composed finish past Rafael.
The home side soon resumed their defensive approach and succeeded in stifling the Santos forwards.
Chances to test Cassio were again at a premium, and a wayward effort from Juan mid-way through the second half was as good as it got for the reigning champions.
For Corinthians, Alex’s missile from a short free-kick in the 75th minute was blocked away by Rafael.
Corinthians will now face the winner of the other semi-final between Universidad de Chile and Boca Juniors, with the Argentinean side holding a 2-0 lead going into the second leg on Thursday.
- Soccer News Like
- Be the first of your friends!