Boca-River in sight as Brazilian teams shine at Libertadores
SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian side is sure to play in the next Copa Libertadores final after Grêmio advanced to the quarterfinals Thursday night and joined Palmeiras, Flamengo and Internacional on the same side of the bracket. The other finalist could come from a likely semifinal clash between Argentinian archrivals River Plate and Boca Juniors.
All quarterfinal matches will be played in the last two weeks of August.
Grêmio beat Paraguay’s Libertad 3-0 away and won its Round-of-16 two-game series 5-0 in the aggregate result. The Porto Alegre club of Brazil winger Everton will face Palmeiras, which will be able to field former Chelsea midfielder Ramires for the first time in the South American tournament.
The winner will face either Flamengo or Internacional in the semifinals.
Flamengo advanced on Wednesday after beating Ecuador’s Emelec on penalties after a 2-0 victory in regular time. The Rio de Janeiro team had lost the first leg by the same score.
Former Atlético Madrid left back Filipe Luís, who moved to Flamengo in July, will be eligible to play in quarterfinals against the team of Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero.
Internacional will play the quarterfinals decider in its Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre.
The other side of the bracket opens a chance for a semifinal clash between the Argentinian finalists of the last edition of the South American club tournament.
Defending champion River Plate is the favorite against Paraguay’s Cerro Porteño.
River eliminated Brazil’s Cruzeiro on penalties on Tuesday after two scoreless draws. Cerro beat Argentina’s San Lorenzo 2-1 on Wednesday after their first encounter ended 0-0 in Buenos Aires.
The second leg of the series will be played in Asunción.
Boca beat Brazil’s Athletico 2-0 on Wednesday, with its new signing Daniele De Rossi of Italy watching at the Bombonera Stadium. The Argentinians had won the first leg 1-0.
Its adversary will be Ecuador’s Liga de Quito, which drew Paraguay’s Olimpia 1-1 on Wednesday after a 3-1 win at home.
Boca are the favorites to advance, with the second leg of the series to be played in Buenos Aires.
River beat Boca 5-3 in the aggregate result of the most recent Copa Libertadores final, with the second leg played in Madrid because of fan violence in Argentina.
The single final match of this year’s Copa Libertadores will be played Nov. 23 at the Nacional Stadium of Santiago in Chile.