Wednesday 23 October 2019, 19:33

River Plate and Flamengo ease through to final

  • Los Millonarios knock out Boca Juniors and O Mengâo beat Gremio

  • Final to be played at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile

  • Winners will qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup 2019™

Defending champions River Plate will face Flamengo in the final of the 2019 Copa Libertadores, to be played as a single match at the Estadio Nacional in Santiago, Chile, on 23 November. The Argentinians saw off arch rivals Boca Juniors in the semis, while O Mengâo dispatched compatriots Gremio.

El Millonario are looking for title number five in what will be their seventh Copa final and the Brazilians only their second crown, 38 years after their one previous appearance in the final. rounds up the semi-final action.

Semi-final second-leg results

  • Boca Juniors 1-0 River Plate (River win 2-1 on aggregate)

  • Flamengo 5-0 Gremio (Flamengo win 6-1 on aggregate)

River protect first-leg advantage

Marcelo Gallardo’s side reached their third final in the last five seasons thanks mainly to their commanding performance at home in the first leg, where they took a 2-0 aggregate lead after dominating the game.

Content to sit on their lead in the return, River kept Boca at bay without too much trouble. Lacking in ideas and only occasionally posing a threat in the air, Boca scored late on to cause some alarm in the Millonarios ranks but could not avenge their defeat in last year's final.

Standout players

  • Enzo Perez: Impressed with his vision and energy in the first leg and his discipline and work rate in the second.

  • Franco Armani: A solid presence, the keeper once again excelled in a Copa tie with a string of crucial saves.

The stat

62 - River have played 62 knockout ties under Gallardo, winning 51 of them and losing 11. Their favourite rivals in that time have been Boca, whom they have beaten on all five occasions they have faced each other, with three of those ties coming in the Copa Libertadores.

Flamengo make no mistake

Jorge Jesus’s men were the better side in the first leg in Porto Alegre but had to settle for a draw after failing to convert their chances.

O Mengâo were not so charitable in the return in Rio de Janeiro, scoring four goals in the second half, two of them headers from set-pieces. Champions in 2017, Gremio suffered their worst defeat in the history of the competition.

Standout players

  • Bruno Henrique: Scored in both games and proved a constant menace to the Gremio defence, creating danger every time he got on the ball.

  • Gabriel Barbosa: Asked questions time and again of Gremio and came close to scoring several times in the first leg before hitting a brace in the return. Fla’s leading scorer in the competition with seven goals.

The stat

2002 - Flamengo have not lost a home Copa Libertadores match in which they have taken the lead since the group phase in 2002 (a 3-1 defeat to Universidad Catolica).