(EFE) – Palmeiras qualified this Tuesday for the fifth time to the final of the Copa Libertadores despite losing in the second leg of the semifinals by 0-2 against River Plate, which with one man less from 72 minutes dominated the Sao Paulo team.
The goals of the Argentine team, who pressed from start to finish, were converted by Paraguayan Robert Rojas and Colombian Rafael Santos Borré.
Palmeiras suffered to reach their fifth final in the continental tournament, which they won for the only time in 1998 at the expense of Colombian Deportivo Cali.
The game was intense from the beginning, with attempts from the middle distance by Brazilian Gustavo Scarpa and the visitor Matías Suárez, then, in the subsequent danger plays, the protagonists were Borré and Rony, who brought Argentina and Brazil closer to the first goal.
Little by little the pupils of Argentine coach Marcelo Gallardo, forced to equalize the 0-3 deficit that the first leg gave him, were positioned on the field, led by Uruguayan midfielder Nicolás De La Cruz and at 27 they had the opportunity clearer with a shot from Chilean Paulo Díaz.
The first goal came a minute later, at 28, with a projection to the right of De La Cruz, who raised the ball and the center was capitalized with an accurate header from Rojas, who beat his compatriot Gustavo Gómez, leader of the defense from Palmeiras.
Suárez was able to extend for the Argentines, but goalkeeper Wéverton defended urgently. Rony and Ze Rafael also had clear scoring plays on Franco Armani’s goal.
But the River did not let the local impose conditions and the winger Fabrizio Angileri again brought danger to the goal of Wéverton.
At forty minutes Palmeiras lost Gomez through injury.
Before the end of the first half, in the 43rd minute, De La Cruz again launched himself from the right, Suárez deflected the center and Borré, well positioned, scored the 0-2 with a header.
For the second half, Palmeiras coach, Portuguese Abel Ferreira, moved his chips, but the homeowners quickly got scared, again with plays led by De La Cruz.
First, the VAR annulled at 54 minutes the third goal of the River by an advanced position of Borré and then, in the 74, when the Argentines were already with ten players due to the expulsion of Rojas, the video referee reversed a penalty marked by Uruguayan judge Esteban Ostojich in an alleged foul on Gonzalo Montiel.
Striker Luiz Adriano, Uruguayan full-back Matías Viña and Ze Rafael desperately sought the discount for Palmeiras, but River did not lower their guard and could also expand with Borré and Ignacio Fernández.
In replacement time, the Colombian Nicolás Gallo, responsible for the VAR, annulled another alleged penalty committed by the Chilean Benjamin Kuscevic on Borré.
Palmeiras will meet on January 30 in Rio de Janeiro in the final of the Copa Libertadores with the winner of the key between the also Brazilian Santos and the Argentine Boca Juniors, which is defined this Wednesday in the port of São Paulo after a draw, 0-0, in the first leg played a week ago in Buenos Aires.