Fabio frustrates Estudiantes

Cruzeiro goalkeeper Fabio was in outstanding form as the Brazilians hung on to earn a 0-0 draw away to Estudiantes in the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final.

Fabio was the star of the show as he made a trio of crucial saves to put the pressure on the Argentinians going into the second leg. Fabio's first save of the night came after 11 minutes when he palmed away a Juan Sebastian Veron free-kick, and six minutes later he was in action again to push Enzo Perez's shot away for a corner.

There was a brief delay to the game when a broken pipe flooded Cruzeiro's goal, and even after it was repaired a deluge of a different kind continued as Estudiantes were able to find holes in the Cruzeiro defence to keep Fabio under pressure. But the goalkeeper kept responding, and he made another fine save just before the break to deny Veron.

The frustrations of the hosts and their fans grew in the second half, and they almost lost the game to a sucker-punch as Kleber shot just wide from Wagner's cross when Cruzeiro burst forward on the counter-attack. Despite missing the chance to win, Cruzeiro can be very happy to take a draw back to Belo Horizonte ahead of Wednesday's second leg.

In the first half we played very well and had great chances. In Belo Horizonte, we must play like we did tonight,
Estudiantes defender Leandro Desabato.

Estudiantes, in contrast, were left to rue their inability to find a way past Fabio. "In the first half we played very well and had great chances," defender Leandro Desabato told Fox Sports. "All the matches are difficult to negotiate. In Belo Horizonte, we must play like we did tonight. Considering the whole 90 minutes, we should have had at least one goal to show for our efforts."

Veron added: "We surely deserved more. If they hadn't had Fabio, history would be different, but the goalkeepers are there to do that job." Veron and company will now take aim at Fabio again in a week's time, and the goalkeeper knows he faces another tough test.

"Estudiantes will make things very difficult in Belo Horizonte," he said. "They team played well and we got a good result. It was a difficult match and we'll try to get the result we need at the Mineirao."