Corinthians advance to Copa Lib final

Corinthians advance to Copa Lib final

Published Jun. 20, 2012 1:00 a.m. ET

Corinthians reached the Copa Libertadores final for the first time by holding defending champion Santos to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday and winning the semifinal 2-1 on aggregate.

Corinthians had beaten their fellow Brazilian club 1-0 last week in Santos.

Neymar scored for Santos in the 36th minute, putting the semifinal level on aggregate. He knocked the ball in from close range after Borges' shot struck the far post and rebounded back toward the striker near the goal line.

Danilo scored the decisive goal for Corinthians in the 48th with a shot from the six-meter line after a free-kick cross by midfielder Alex.


Corinthians will face either six-time champion Boca Juniors of Argentina or Universidad de Chile, who play Thursday in Chile. Boca Juniors won the first leg 2-0 last week in Buenos Aires.

Needing a victory, Santos controlled possession from the start at the Pacaembu stadium but struggled to break through Corinthians' defense.

Its goal came on a play started by Neymar, who found striker Alan Kardec on the right. He crossed to Borges, who dived feet first to redirect the ball toward the far post.

Danilo's equalizer came after a foul on substitute striker Liedson on the left flank. Alex's cross went through Santos defense and found Danilo free from markers near the far post. He placed his shot past onrushing Santos goalkeeper Rafael.

Corinthians has not lost yet in this year's Copa Libertadores and has allowed only three goals. When playing at Pacaembu in Sao Paulo, Corinthians outscored its opponents 14-1. Neymar's goal was the first it had conceded at home.

Corinthians is a popular club in Brazil and a five-time national champion, but it has never had much success internationally until now. It won the inaugural FIFA Club World Cup in 2000, when it was invited as the host team.

Santos was looking to reach its fifth Copa Libertadores final and win its fourth title, which would have been its second consecutive since the Pele era in the 1960s.

Boca is a draw away from its 10th final, while Universidad de Chile never reached the final of the premier Latin American competition.



Corinthians: Cassio, Alessandro, Chicao, Leandro Castan, Fabio Santos, Ralf, Paulinho, Danilo, Alex, Jorge Henrique, Willian (Liedson, 46).

Santos: Rafael, Henrique, Edu Dracena, Durval, Juan (Leo, 75), Adriano (Elano, 74), Arouca, Paulo Henrique Ganso, Alan Kardec, Neymar, Borges (Dimba, 85).

Referee: Leandro Vuaden (Brazil).