Copa Libertadores: Palmeiras 2-2 Boca Juniors (aggregate 2-4): 5 talking points and analysis
Boca Juniors scored two away goals in the return leg of the Copa Libertadores semi-final to sink Brazilian side Palmeiras 4-2 on aggregate and cruise to the competition’s final for a record 11th time.
In addition to the two-goal lead carried on from La Bombanera last week, Ramon ‘Wanchope’ Abila and first leg hero Dario Benedetto scored once in each half to put the match well out of reach of the Brazilians.
Despite conceding an early away goal, Palmeiras pulled two back within quick succession in the second half, courtesy of Luan and Gustavo Gomez. This sparked hope in the home supporters but it turned out to be a case of too little too late as Benedetto’s strike left them with an insurmountable task.
We take a look at the major talking points from the game.
#1 Clueless Palmeiras cede initiative
The first leg of the semi-final was a dull affair for over 80 minutes until Benedetto’s introduction quickly changed things for Boca. The Argentine international scored twice to put his side in a strong position going into the second leg, leaving the Brazilians with no choice but to attack from the get-go.
In the 9th minute, Scolari’s side thought they had the all-important first goal via Bruno Henrique - and thereby a toehold in the game - only for VAR to chalk it off due to Deyverson being offside during the build-up.
That should have energized them to go all guns blazing; however, what followed was mostly aimless running, zero penetration and ceding possession dangerously which enabled Boca’s swift counters.
Palmeiras knew what they had to do but their execution lacked skill and fervour. They had a swell of the ball in the first half without making much use of it.
Minutes after their effort was ruled out, they let the visitors score by giving away the ball to Nandez (who was brilliant tonight) in midfield, whose pass to Sebastian Villa led to Abila’s goal. This took the wind out of the hosts’ sails for the better part of the first half.
The momentum was in Boca’s favour and it was all Palmeiras could do not to concede any more.