A first-leg stalemate at the Bombonera has left this semi-final tie wide open, as Palmeiras await in the showpiece
The CONMEBOL Copa Libertadores has reached its semi-final stage, as the delayed 2020 competition nears its end.
And Wednesday will decide who goes on to meet Palmeiras in the final itself: Santos or Boca Juniors, who meet in Vila Belmiro with the tie poised at 0-0.
With six and three Libertadores titles respectively the two sides rank among the most successful in the competition’s six-decade history, but neither could find the advantage in a tense first-leg clash which finished goalless.
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How to watch Boca vs Santos on US TV
|Date||Time (US PT / ET)||Match||Channel|
|January 13||2:15pm / 5:15pm||Santos vs Boca||Fanatiz|
What has happened to Santos and Boca so far in the 2020 Copa Libertadores?
Santos finished top of Group G with a near-perfect 16 points from 18, although they then faced a potential banana skin in the last 16 in the shape of Ecuador Liga de Quito.
The Brazilians pulled off a major coup in prevailing 2-1 in the altitude of Quito, a result that meant they could afford to lose a bad-tempered return and still progress on away goals.
The Peixe were then unlucky to see Gremio level at 1-1 deep into injury time of the all-Brazilian quarter final, first leg, but they proved too strong in the return as a superlative performance from young sensation Kaio Jorge led them to a 4-1 thrashing at Vila Belmiro and easy passage into the last four.
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Boca have made steady if unspectacular progress through the Libertadores, buoyed by six goals from Argentina striker Eduardo Salvio and the ever-inspirational presence of Carlos Tevez.
The Xeneize came out top in Group H without losing a single game and conceding just one goal, and they looked set to continue in the same vein when Tevez’s strike gave them a 1-0 victory away to Internacional in the last 16 first leg.
Inter, however, struck back with their own win in the return, and the game was forced into a tense penalty shoot-out which was eventually won 5-4 by the relieved Argentines.
In the quarter-finals against Racing, a tense first leg at El Cilindro went in La Academia’s favour thanks to Paraguay international Lorenzo Melgarejo, who headed past Esteban Andrada to gives the hosts a 1-0 victory. In the return, though, Boca fought back and prevailed on aggregate thanks to goals from Salvio and Sebastian Villa.
Santos and Boca team news and preview
Santos goalkeeper John tested positive for Covid-19 following the first leg, and will be unavailable for Wednesday’s return.
Joao Paulo will fill in between the posts, the only change to the side which drew 0-0 in the Bombonera.
Boca coach Miguel Angel Russo preferred to keep observers guessing prior to Wednesday’s match and let no sign of his first XI slip in his final training session prior to flying to Brazil.
The Xeneize will nevertheless expect to field Jorman Campuzano in midfield after the Colombian missed the first leg through injury, with either Mariano Capaldo or Diego Gonzalez making way.
Probable Santos XI: Joao Paulo; Para, Lucas Veríssimo, Luan Peres, Felipe Jonatan; Alison, Soteldo, Diego Pituca; Marinho, Kaio Jorge, Lucas Braga.
Probable Boca XI: Andrada; Buffarini, Izquierdoz, Lisandro Lopez, Fabra; Salvio, Campuzano, Gonzalez/Capaldo, Villa; Soldano, Tevez.
When does the 2020 Copa Libertadores finish?
The 2020 Copa Libertadores was originally scheduled to conclude with a single final in a neutral ground, the system which replaced the old format of home and away legs last year, at the end of November.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, however, the tournament suffered almost six months of interruption, meaning that the final phases had to be pushed back into the South American summer months of late December and January.
The last quarter-final tie between Boca and Racing concluded on December 23. On Tuesday, Palmeiras rode their luck against River to advance from their last-four clash and reach the final.
The final proper is scheduled to be held at Rio de Janeiro’s landmark Maracana Stadium on January 30.
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