Boca Juniors ousts defending champion Corinthians
SAO PAULO (AP)—Boca Juniors advanced to the quarterfinals of the Copa Libertadores by holding defending champion Corinthians to a 1-1 draw on Wednesday, eliminating the Brazilian club 2-1 on aggregate.
Veteran Juan Roman Riquelme scored a remarkable goal to open the scoring in the 25th, finding the far corner with a curling long-range shot from near the sidelines. Brazil midfielder Paulinho equalized for Corinthians in the 50th, but the champions needed two more goals to move on in the Latin American tournament.
Corinthians loudly complained of two offside calls that led to disallowed goals, in addition to a penalty not called by the referee.
Boca Juniors will now play fellow Argentine club Newell’s Old Boys.
The match was the most anticipated in the round of 16, pitting the titleholders against the six-time champions in a rematch of last year’s final.
Riquelme caught Corinthians goalkeeper Cassio by surprise with his long shot from the right side. The ball flew a long time across the area before going over the goalkeeper and hitting the side-netting near the top corner. It wasn’t clear if Riquelme meant to shoot on goal or cross the ball into the area.
Just a minute before Riquelme’s goal, Corinthians striker Romarinho, who scored in last year’s finals, had a goal disallowed because of offside, but television replays showed he was in good position. Corinthians had another goal ruled out because of offside in the 59th.
The Brazilians also applead for a penalty when Boca defender Leandro Marin touched the ball with his hand inside the area early in the first half.
After Riquelme’s goal, Corinthians needed to score three times, so coach Tite brought on former Milan striker Alexandre Pato as part of a more attacking formation in the second half.
Corinthians nearly scored less than two minutes into the second half, but Boca Juniors goalkeeper Agustin Ignacio Orion made a difficult save on a close-range shot by midfielder Danilo. Defender Paulo Andre also came close with a header in the 48th, and Paulinho finally put Corinthians on the board in the 51st, heading in a long cross by Emerson.
Boca Juniors had a chance to seal the victory in the 58th after Cassio couldn’t hold on to a Riquelme shot, but Nicolas Blandi missed the open net from close range.
Pato missed a golden opportunity in the 75th minute, missing his attempted shot with the open net just in front of him.
Earlier Wednesday, Newell’s Old Boys secured its place in the quarterfinals by beating Velez Sarsfield 2-1 in an all-Argentine matchup in Buenos Aires. Newell’s advanced on away goals after losing the first leg 1-0. Milton Casco and Ignacio Scocco each scored in the first half, while Velez’s lone goal was netted by Victor Ferreyra near the end.
On Tuesday, newcomer Tijuana of Mexico upset 1999 champion Palmeiras in Sao Paulo, winning 2-1 after a 0-0 draw at home in the first leg. The match was marked by a mistake by Palmeiras goalkeeper Bruno, who let a very weak shot get past him for the first Tijuana goal. The Mexicans will face Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro in the quarterfinals.
On Thursday, Santa Fe of Colombia hosts Gremio of Brazil trying to rebound from a 2-1 loss in Porto Alegre. Olimpia of Paraguay also has to erase a 2-1 first-leg loss when it hosts Tigre of Argentina.
Defending Brazil champion Fluminense and Peru’s Real Garcilaso also had already advanced from the round of 16.
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