Copa Libertadores: When a crowd might have made a difference

IN THE end, we were spared 30 minutes of what might have been tedious extra time, thanks to a wonderful goal totally out of character with the rest of the Copa Libertadores final in Rio de Janeiro. Palmeiras scored it, clinching their second Libertadores title after 104 minutes of cagey, fractious and largely uninspiring football. […]

Copa Libertadores Final: Brazilian derby in an empty Maracanã

TWO old rivals from São Paulo face each other in the 2020 Copa Libertadores final in Rio de Janeiro, yet another big football match played in a supporter-free stadium. Brazil has had 8.8 million cases of covid-19 and over 200,000 deaths. Palmeiras and Santos meet in the Clássico da Saudade (the derby of nostalgia) with a difference, […]

Copa Libertadores heading for an all-Brazil final

THE COPA Libertadores has gradually become more global over the past two years, largely thanks to the 2018 debacle when Boca Juniors and River Plate met in the final in Madrid after a string of highly publicised disruptions in Argentina. The Buenos Aires duo are back in the semi-finals again, but after disappointing results in […]

South American Way: Estudiantes de La Plata, the one-time bogey men

IN THE the mid-to-late 1960s, Argentine football had acquired a dark image. In 1966, the national team left the field at Wembley, after an ill-tempered World Cup quarter-final, to chants of “animals, animals”, a sentiment that was echoed by prickly England manager Sir Alf Ramsey. A year later, violence erupted in the World Club Championship […]

Could the Copa Libertadores go global?

WHEN CONMEBOL agreed to move the second leg of the Copa Libertadores final, South America’s equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, to Madrid, they not only solved an immediate logistical problem, they also have opened a door that could prove difficult to close. By taking the final, a high-octane fixture between Buenos Aires’ rivals, River […]

Brazil’s Flamengo dancing to success

THE COPA LIBERTADORES has reached the last four stage and there’s some real continental heavyweights in there: Boca Junior, River Plate, Flamengo and Grêmio. The semi-finals include two domestic clashes which will guarantee an Argentina v Brazil final, the 15thtime the region’s two biggest football nations have met to decide the destination of the trophy. […]

Copa Libertadores: Last eight dominated by big two nations

WE ALREADY know there will be one Brazilian team in the final of this year’s Copa Libertadores, thanks to two all-Brazil quarter-finals providing an all-Brazil semi-final. There is no danger of a repeat of last season’s domestic squabble but there are a number of big guns left in the competition, including the 2018 finalists, River […]