Buenos Aires (AFP) – Brazil’s Palmeiras have the advantage in their Copa Libertadores semi-final after earning a goalless draw at Boca Juniors in Thursday’s first leg in Buenos Aires.
Palmeiras will fancy their chances in the return leg in Sao Paulo next Thursday as they seek to add to their three Libertadores titles and become the most successful Brazilian club in the competition.
Boca’s home, La Bombonera, was packed and passionate for the encounter, but it was the visitors who started the brightest with an early chance for Artur but the forward dragged his shot wide.
Boca, the six-times Libertadores winners, went close themselves in the 16th minute when their Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani flashed a header just wide after a cross from the left.
Former Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani, dropping deep, then put Valentin Barco free down the left and the teenager’s low cross was turned just wide of the far post by Miguel Merentiel.
Cavani then had another half-chance, just before the break but his header, under challenge, was just wide of the target.
There was almost a chaotic opener in the 59th minute when, with a second ball having been thrown onto the field from the crowd, Weverton pushed out a header from Frank Fabra. Although Merentiel had the ball in the net from the resulting scramble, it was ruled out for a foul by Fabra.
Waverton was then in action again to push out an effort from Barco and Cavani was inches away from turning in the loose ball by the post.
Boca, who face bitter local rivals River Plate in the ‘Superclasico’ on Sunday, struggled to apply real pressure in the final stages while Palmeiras looked content to head back home with a 0-0 result.
“It was a difficult match, both teams had chances and we tried to get a victory but on the road, here, it was a hard-earned result and now we have to get ready for the return in front of our own fans and hope we can get to the final,” said Weverton.
The other semi-final is also finely poised after Fluminense and Internacional drew 2-2 on Wednesday at the Maracana Stadium, with the pair meeting again on Wednesday in Porto Alegre.