Palmeiras, Santos book the battle of Brazil
Palmeiras saw off River while Santos prevailed against Boca
The final will take place on 30 January at the Maracana
Winners will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup
Palmeiras and Santos, the top two sides in the group stage, put paid to the hopes of River Plate and Boca Juniors in their respective semis to set up an all-Brazilian final in the Copa Libertadores 2020.
This will be the fourth time the tournament’s deciding game will be contested by two teams from the same country, and the third between Brazilian clubs. The nation last provided both finalists in 2006, when Internacional defeated Sao Paulo before going on to upset Barcelona in the Club World Cup final.
The final, which is a single game, will take place on Saturday, 30 January at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro. As well as continental bragging rights, the victor will get to represent South America at the upcoming FIFA Club World Cup Qatar 2020, set to be played between 1-11 February.
Copa Libertadores: semifinals
Players of Palmeiras celebrate reaching the Final after a semifinal second leg match between Palmeiras and River Plate
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 12: Players of Palmeiras celebrate reaching the Final after a semifinal second leg match between Palmeiras and River Plate as part of Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 at Allianz Parque on January 12, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Amanda Perobelli - Pool/Getty Images)
Alan Empereur of Palmeiras gets in the field prior during the Libertadores semifinal
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JANUARY 12: Alan Empereur of Palmeiras gets in the field prior during a semifinal second leg match between Palmeiras and River Plate as part of Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2020 at Allianz Parque on January 12, 2021 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Amanda Perobelli - Pool/Getty Images)
Palmeiras do it the hard way
First leg: River Plate 0-3 Palmeiras
Second leg: Palmeiras 0-2 River Plate
Despite being outplayed in the second leg in Brazil and losing their unbeaten record, Palmeiras’s resounding win in Argentina proved enough to see off Marcelo Gallardo's impressive River side. In so doing, O Verdāo checked into their fifth Libertadores final, with their sole victory coming in 1999.
With impressive displays in both legs but especially in the second, goalkeeper Weverton was the standout figure for the Brazilian side, who again had vital contributions from Rony and Luiz Adriano (one goal apiece).
Gallardo is a better coach than me, and his players are more experienced. Our first-leg performance, in which we were the better side, is what got us through to the final. Here, they were superior. We have to be humble and recognise that. It was the ...
What I saw today from my team makes me proud and dignifies my profession. These are the moments you become a coach for. I wish Palmeiras luck in the final.
Santos stroll into showpiece
First leg: Boca Juniors 0-0 Santos
Second leg: Santos 3-0 Boca Juniors
With a solid team performance and the firepower to capitalise at key moments in the return leg, Santos proved too strong for Boca Juniors en route to their fifth Libertadores final. Winners in 1962 and 1963 with Pele in their ranks, and in 2011 with Neymar, O Peixe will be attempting to become the first Brazilian club to win the title four times.
Displaying dynamism, speed and youthful energy, Santos never let their opponents relax across the two legs, although it was only in the return fixture that they made their superiority count. Especially impressive in Sao Paulo were their Venezuelan attacking midfielder Yeferson Soteldo and Brazilian attacker Marinho.
It could have been Boca-River, but it’s going to be Santos and Palmeiras at the Maracana representing Brazil. Congratulations are in order, though not just for us: this is a victory for all of Brazilian football.
I'm the one in charge, so I take full responsibility for everything. I have no excuses. Defeat in an open semi-final, knowing the opportunity we had, hurts."