Santos host Boca Juniors on Wednesday with a place in the Copa Libertadores final on the line (10:15pm kick-off, UK time).
Neither side were able to find a breakthrough in the first leg of this semi-final clash, playing out a goalless draw in Argentina, leaving the match evenly poised. The winner will go on to face Palmeiras, who beat River Plate 3-2 on aggregate in their semi-final.
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Where to watch Santos vs Boca Juniors on TV:
- UK: BBC Red Button
- US: beIN Sports
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Scoreline prediction: Santos 1-0 Boca Juniors
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Santos vs Boca Juniors build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Santos will be looking to reach their fifth Copa Libertadores final and a first since 2011, when they beat Uruguayan side Penarol for their third title. Santos have had a fairly straightforward journey in the Copa Libertadores so far, cruising through their group with five wins and a draw, though they did need away goals to beat LDU Quito in the last-16.
A comprehensive 5-2 win over Gremio in the quarter-finals set up this semi-final tie and they go into Wednesday’s second leg off the back of a big domestic win. On Sunday, Santos beat Brazilian Serie A leaders Sao Paulo 1-0 to move up to eighth in the table, good momentum to take into an important game.
Boca Juniors, meanwhile, drew 2-2 with Argentinos Juniors at the weekend, their third consecutive draw across all competitions, which included the first leg of this tie and a Superclasico against River Plate. It was a Superclasico the last time Boca Juniors reached the Copa Libertadores final in 2018, where they lost to rivals River Plate in Madrid, the fifth time they had been losing finalists (no team has more runners-up medals).
However, Boca Juniors are also one of the competition’s most successful sides, with their six titles bettered only by Independiente (seven) and no other team appearing in more finals. Boca Juniors’ last Copa Libertadores success came in 2007 when they beat Brazilian opposition, Gremio, in the final.
- Santos (vs Sao Paulo): Joao Paulo; Madson, Laercio, Alex, Jean Mota; Vinicius; Arthur Gomes, Jobson, Sandry, Lucas Braga; Bruno Marques.
- Boca Juniors (vs Argentinos Juniors): Rossi; Buffarini, Zambrano, Avila, Mas; Salvio, Varela, Jara, Cardona; Abila, Zarate.
Both sides understandably fielded weakened teams in their weekend games, looking to keep their key players fit and fresh ahead of this crunch clash.
Players to watch:
- Santos: There has been one man standing out more than most for Santos this season, and it’s Marinho. The 30-year-old winger has blown the rest of his teammates out of the water with his impact on the side, across all competitions. In the league, he has been directly involved in 21 goals in 22 games, scoring 15 and providing a further six assists. He leads the rest of his teammates in both of these statistics, and by quite some distance with regards to goals. Marinho has also been scoring in the Copa Libertadores, with four goals in eight appearances, including one in each of the previous two knockout rounds.
- Boca Juniors: Despite being about to turn 37, Carlos Tevez is still going strong in Argentina and is the main man for Boca Juniors in a slightly deeper role than some Premier League fans will be used to seeing him. The former West Ham United, Manchester United and Manchester City forward has scored 14 goals in 32 games across all competitions this season, including three in the Copa Libertadores. And Boca Juniors have been lining up in recent weeks with Tevez’s Copa Libertadores record in mind, resting him in their past three domestic matches. Now’s the time for him to show it was worth it and help them into the final.
Copa Libertadores 2020/21 recent form:
- Santos: DWDLW
- Boca Juniors: DWLDW
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