Old guard win through
© AFP

The semi-final line-up of the Copa Libertadoreswas completed this week, with all four places being filled by sides with distinguished pedigrees and ten Copa crowns between them. Nacional of Uruguay beat Palmeiras to book a meeting with Argentina's Estudiantes, while Gremio and Cruzeiro both advanced to set up an all-Brazilian clash. FIFA.com tells the story of their quarter-final triumphs.

Game of the week
Sao Paulo 0-2 Cruzeiro
Goals: Henrique 66, Kleber 81 pen

Sao Paulo's record of never having lost a Libertadores quarter-final at the Estadio Morumbi was brought to an end by an efficient yet stylish Cruzeiro side. O Tricolor Paulista had won all seven of their previous home ties in the last eight but had no answer to the visitors' effectiveness in front of goal, ending a frustrating evening with only nine men on the pitch. Cruzeiro's fine away win maintained their hopes of adding a third Copa title to the two they obtained in 1976 and 1997.

Surprise of the week
Gremio 0-0 Caracas

As expected, O Tricolor Gaúcho sealed their place in the semis, but not without enduring a heart-stopping evening at the Estadio Olimpico in Porto Alegre. The home fans were baying for the final whistle as the visitors staged a late onslaught, with both Rafael Castellin and Gabriel Cichero missing clear-cut chances to win the tie for Caracas. But despite ending their unenviable record of never having won or drawn in Brazil, the Venezuelans could not prevent Gremio from progressing the last four for the fifth time in eight attempts.

Elsewhere
Nacional supporters also endured a nail-biting evening as the Uruguayans scraped through on away goals against Palmeiras in Montevideo. After being held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Sao Paulo the Brazilians threw everything they had at Rodrigo Munoz in the Nacional goal and even sent goalkeeper Marcos into the attack late on. Yet it was all to no avail for Vanderlei Luxemburgo's side, who paid for their profligate finishing as El Bolso returned to the semi-finals 21 years after winning their third and last Libertadores.

Estudiantes, the only other three-time champions still in the competition, had no such problems in disposing of Nacional's compatriots Defensor Sporting, winning 1-0 to complete a 2-0 aggregate triumph. Leandro Benitez struck the only goal of the night from close range as El Pincha, led by the flawless Juan Veron, secured their sixth straight home win of the competition, all of them without conceding a goal.

Player of the week
Henrique (Cruzeiro)

The 24-year-old opened his side's account against Sao Paulo at the Morumbi with an unstoppable 30-yard drive, a strike that virtually ensured their place in the semis and underlined the midfielder's uncanny ability to raise his game away from home.

The stat
26 -
The number of years since Estudiantes last reached the semi-finals of the competition. Strangely, on that occasion in 1983 the men from La Plata were joined in the last four by Nacional of Uruguay and eventual champions Gremio, two of their fellow semi-finalists this time around.

What they said
"That's football for you. Palmeiras were the better side over the two games but Nacional scored in Sao Paulo and that was that. We dominated in Montevideo and created chances but couldn't put them away. We're sad but the fans should be proud of this team." Palmeiras coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo reacts to his side's exit.

This week's quarter-final second-leg results
Wednesday 17
Nacional (URU) 0-0 Palmeiras (BRA)
Gremio (BRA) 0-0 Caracas (VEN)

Thursday 18
Estudiantes (ARG) 1-0 Defensor Sporting (URU)
Sao Paulo (BRA) 0-2 Cruzeiro (BRA)

Semi-finals
Gremio (BRA) v Cruzeiro (BRA)
Estudiantes (ARG) v Nacional (URU)