Corinthians strike late to draw with Boca
© AFP

Boca Juniors and Corinthians played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final. A late goal from young forward Romarinho saw Corinthians move level with Boca after their Argentinian hosts were on the brink of winning thanks to a Facundo Roncaglia goal.

Corinthians midfielder Paulinho made Agustin Orion work early on as the goalkeeper turned a powerful shot out for a corner in the seventh minute.

Corinthians coach Tite was forced to replace injured forward Jorge Henrique with Liedson six minutes before half-time and Boca struggled to get to grips. However, in the 73rd minute Boca took the lead.

After a Pablo Mouche corner-kick from the left, Santiago Silva headed the ball and with a deflection from Corinthians defender Chicao, it hit the post. The ball rebounded to defender Roncaglia, though, who knocked it into the back of the net.

Ten minutes later, Romarinho came on for Danilo and he added some speed and quality to the Corinthians attack. In the 85th minute, Paulinho stole the ball off Juan Roman Riquelme and passed it to Emerson, who then assisted Romarinho. The 21-year-old beat Orion to equalise and silenced the Boca fans.

I am very happy to have helped the team.
Corinthians forward Romarinho

Boca had the last opportunity to win the game in injury time, but a Lucas Viatri header hit the bar. The return match will be played at the Estadio Pacaembu in Sao Paulo next Wednesday, with the away goals rule not used at this stage.

Romarinho told Fox Sports: "I am very happy to have helped the team. Tite told me to play close to the sides and use my speed. We are happy because we were the away side, we were down and managed to equalise."

His team-mate Alex added: "We drew because of the big star we have in the squad [Romarinho], but we know we did not play the way we can. We need to play much better if we want to win the title. Boca are a very tough team."

Boca defender Matias Caruzo was disappointed with the result, saying: "It's a shame, but we are fine, we know there are 90 minutes left. We tried to win the game from the first minute. We took the initiative and we'll try to do so in Brazil. We could have won it and maybe we are a little bit angry about that."

Boca are trying to win their seventh Copa Libertadores title, while Corinthians are making their first appearance in the final.