Santos' quest to repeat as Copa Libertadores champion is alive. Barely.
The Brazilian giant needed a late equalizer from Alan Kardec to pull even with 10-man Argentine side Velez Sarsfield and then prevailed on penalties 4-2 to advance to the tournament semifinals Thursday night. Hector Canteros and Emiliano Papa missed penalties for Velez, which had brought a 1-0 lead from the first leg into the return leg in Brazil.
Neymar did not have to take a penalty after going the distance for Santos, which did not include extra time per tournament rules. He drew a red card on Velez goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero, who was sent off in the 40th minute for a harsh tackle. Santos' makes against backup keeper German Montoya were converted by Alan Kardec, Leo, Elano and Paulo Henrique Ganso, who played a day before undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery that will rule him out of Brazil's upcoming friendlies against Denmark, the United States, Mexico and Argentina.
Santos will meet Corinthians in an all-Brazilian semifinal after Paulinho's 88th-minute goal gave Corinthians a 1-0 aggregate victory over Vasco de Gama on Wednesday.
Highlights from Santos' win and other Libertadores quarterfinals results are after the jump:
UNIVERSIDAD ADVANCE ON PENALTIES
Universidad de Chile also needed penalties to remain alive, eliminating Libertad 5-3 in the shootout after the top played to a 1-1 draw and a 2-2 aggregate draw.
Marcelo Diaz had scored to put Universidad in front in the 18th minute on a low free kick, but an Osvaldo Gonzalez own goal five minutes later pulled the Paraguayan side level on aggregate and away goals. Victor Ayala's miss in the third round during the penalty shootout was the difference, as Universidad made all their spot kicks to advance.
Here are the highlights:
BOCA JUNIORS TOP FLU IN STOPPAGE TIME
Boca Juniors are a step away from returning to the Copa Libertadores final for the first time since 2007 and competing for what would be a record-tying seventh title after a last-gasp goal from Santiago Silva gave the storied Argentine club a 2-1 aggregate victory over Fluminense on Wednedsay night.
Thiago Carleto had leveled the aggregate with his 17th-minute free kick from distance that took a wild deflection, but Silva put home a rebound after a sequence in which a shot from close range came off the post and was then parried away by Fluminense goalkeeper Diego Calavieri before landing for Silva on the doorstep.
Here are highlights from the match:
COPA LIBERTADORES SEMIFINALS (First leg June 12; Second leg June 20)
Santos (Brazil) vs. Corinthians (Brazil)
Boca Juniors (Argentina) vs. Universidad de Chile (Chile)
Who do you think will advance to the Libertadores final? Do you see Santos getting to the final without Ganso? Think Boca Juniors have what it takes to win a seventh title?
Share your thoughts below.