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- Boca, Palmeiras, River and Santos have 14 Libertadores kroner between them
- Three of the four have reached the semifinals within the last two seasons
- The final will take place in Maracana on January 30th
South American giants Boca Juniors, Santos, River Plate and Palmeiras have made it to the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores 2020 and will no doubt already have an eye on the final to be held at the legendary Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. With the last four meetings just around the corner, FIFA.com takes a look at how each team advanced from their respective quarterfinals.
Boca flips ties at home
- First stage: Racing Club 1-0 Boca Juniors
- Second leg: Boca Juniors 2-0 Racing Club
Boca Juniors played extremely well in the second half against Racing and overcame a first deficit in a knockout draw for the first time since 2007 and qualified for their third consecutive semifinal for the first time in their history.
Although Carlos Tevez stands out, it was Eduardo Salvio who once again proved to be instrumental, opening the scoring for his sixth goal of the tournament, the highest number from a Boca player in Libertadores since Martin Palermo netted seven times in 2008.
Did you know?
- Miguel Russo is in his second magic with the responsibility of Boca. He was at the helm when the club last lifted the trophy in 2007.
- Among the teams still running, Los Xeneizes has conceded the fewest goals: three, one less than Palmeiras.
Santos keeps a low profile
- First stage: Gremio 1-1 Santos
- Second leg: Santos 4-1 Gremio
With a minimum of fuss, O Peixe defeated one of the most consistent teams in the last few years and advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2012. Under the guidance of Cuca, who guided Atletico Mineiro to the continental title in 2013, Santos has quietly increased equipment whenever they have needed so far during the tournament, but they will no longer be able to fly under the radar in these final stages.
Against Gremio, Kaio Jorge played a key role and scored three times over the two legs – his two goals in the return match were his first at home for the club. With five goals in nine games, the foreign youngster is his team’s top scorer in the competition. Santos’ defensive rigor can also not be underestimated: they looked away from Gremio’s challenge despite having registered a holding of almost 31 percent.
Did you know?
- It took Kaio Jorge exactly 11 seconds to score the opener in the second half, making his opportunistic strike the common fifth fastest goal in Copa Libertadore’s history.
- Kaio Jorge (five) and Marinho (four) have scored 53 percent of Santos’ goals (nine out of 17).
Palmeiras goes from strength to strength
- First stage: Libertad 1-1 Palmeiras
- Second leg: Palmeiras 3-0 Libertad
Palmeiras, the best team in the group stage and the only side still undefeated, fully demonstrated their maturity and solidity compared to the Paraguayan outfit Libertad, which fared better than their status as the worst second placed team proposed, but which paid dearly for any mistake they made. The Brazilians have recently attacked with threat and scored an average of three goals in their last four matches.
With Portuguese tactician Abel Ferreira at the helm, O Verdão have gone ten games without defeat in the Copa Libertadores in 2020 and are equivalent to their best race ever in the tournament, except this time they have managed it during a single edition rather than across two consecutive competitions. It is therefore no great surprise to see them in the semis for the second time in three years.
Did you know?
- Brazilian striker Rony scored a goal and an assist – his seventh of the tournament – in the second half against Libertad. The latter performance feels to him like a joint top on the assistant table alongside River Plate striker Matias Suarez.
- Rony, who turned 25 earlier this year, also boasts four goals in the Copa and has therefore played a role in 11 of his side’s 29 goals (38 percent).
River Plates insatiable appetite
- First stage: River 2-0 Nacional
- Second stage: Nacional 2-6 River
Last season’s second place is the only team in the remaining quartet to reach the semifinals for the last four years in a row. In fact, it’s the fifth time in six years that Los Millonarios has reached this stage – they eventually held the trophy up in 2015 and 2018 – and they now have their goal of settling for a third straight in a row at the Copa final, a feat most recently achieved by Sao Paulo for almost three decades ago (1992 to 1994).
The man in charge of taxing this task is Marcelo Gallardo, who has once again found a way to modernize his much-admired team. Therefore, despite the lack of key players like Enzo Perez and Ignacio Fernandez, River Nacional disposed of comfortably, giving younger stars like Uruguayan Nicolas De La Cruz and Colombian Jorge Carrascal a chance to shine.
Did you know?
- River is the most productive team left in the tournament, having collected 31 goals in ten meetings, three less than the 21st century record (34 in 14) set by Sao Paulo in 2005. Their top scorer so far is Rafael Santos Borre (six goals), who scored a hat-trick in the second stage of the quarter-finals, and Julian Alvarez (five).
- Gonzalo Montiel, who plays in right-back for River, provided three assists over the two games with Nacional. He has six assists in the tournament as a whole, a total that puts him right behind his teammate, Matias Suarez, and Palmeiras’ Rony, both of whom lead the field with seven.
Semi-finals (all times local)
River Plate Vs. Palmeiras
- First stage: 05/01/2021 (21.30)
- Second leg: 12/01/2021 (21.30)
Boca Juniors vs. Santos
- First stage: 06/01/2021 (19.15)
- Second leg: 01/13/2021 (19.15)