Soccer-Reigning champions Palmeiras qualify for Libertadores final – Metro US

Soccer-Reigning champions Palmeiras qualify for Libertadores final

Copa Libertadores – Semi Final – Second Leg – Atletico
Copa Libertadores – Semi Final – Second Leg – Atletico Mineiro v Palmeiras

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil (Reuters) -Reigning champions Palmeiras reached the final of the Copa Libertadores on the away goals rule on Tuesday following a 1-1 draw at fellow Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro.

After a 0-0 draw in the first leg, the teams played out a turgid first half in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday but the game sparked to life early in the second period when Eduardo Vargas headed home at the far post to give Atletico the lead.

A mix up in the Atletico defence almost gifted Rony a goal in the 62nd minute but it was substitute Gabriel Veron who made the difference six minutes later when he crossed for Dudu to slide in and equalise.

Atletico threw balls into the box looking for a second goal but Palmeiras defended well to secure their place in the final, which is scheduled to take place in Montevideo in November.

The result saw Portuguese coach Abel Ferreira become the first European to lead a South American team to two Libertadores finals.

Ferreira won the title with Palmeiras last year, becoming only the third European to win South America’s equivalent of the Champions League after compatriot Jorge Jesus (Flamengo 2019) and Croatian Mirko Jozic (Colo-Colo 1991).

Despite reaching the final, a furious Ferreira delivered an outburst aimed at a neighbour whom he said was a “pain”.

“That was for my neighbour, for him to shut up,” he told reporters. “In my house I’m in charge, not him, so this is for my neighbour. Sshhh.”

Palmeiras will face the winner of Wednesday’s second semi-final between Flamengo and Ecuador’s Barcelona. Brazilian club Flamengo lead 2-0 after the first leg of the competition, which is South America’s equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.

(Reporting by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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