Penarol reaches Copa Libertadores final

Uruguay club Penarol reached the Copa Libertadores final on

Thursday despite a 2-1 loss to Argentina’s Velez Sarsfield, setting

up a two-legged final against Brazilian club Santos.

Penarol and Velez drew 2-2 on aggregate over two legs, but

Penarol advanced on the away-goals rule.

Penarol won 1-0 in Uruguay a week ago.

Matias Mier gave Penarol a 1-0 lead in the 34th, but Velez

responded with a first-half, injury-time goal from Fernando Tobio

and a strike from Santiago Silva in the 67th minute. Silva had a

chance to clinch a spot in the final for Velez but missed a penalty

late in the game.

Velez played with 10 men from the 70th minute when Fernando

Ortiz was sent off.

Santos advanced Wednesday, drawing Paraguay’s Cerro Porteno 3-3

to advance 4-3 on aggregate over two legs.

”Returning to play the Libertadores final in incredible,” said

Penarol coach Diego Aguirre, who played in 1987 on the last of

Penarol’s five championship teams.

Penarol also won South America’s top club title in 1960, ’61,

’66 and ’82. It has the third-most titles behind Argentine clubs

Independiente (seven) and Boca Juniors (six).

Penarol will open the final on June 15 in the Uruguay capital,

Montevideo. Santos has won the title twice and is expected to play

the second leg in Sao Paulo.

During an evenly played first half Thursday, Mier broke from the

left side and drove the ball home from 10 meters (yards). Velez

appeared to have leveled the score in the 42nd on a shot by Juan

Manuel Martinez but the play was correctly called offside.

Velez scored minutes later in injury time on a close-in header

by Tobio.

Velez had its chances in the second half. Silva leaped high in

the 63rd on a header that was stopped, but scored four minutes

later on a shot that hugged the ground, hit the post and went

in.

Silva, Velez’s top player, had a chance to win the match in the

76th on a penalty – called for a handball in the area – but his

attempt sailed over the crossbar. Silva slipped as he kicked the

penalty, causing the ball to sail high.