Copa Libertadores Final 1st Leg- Penarol vs Santos

Posted on by SoccerPunter

The Copa Libertadores final is steeped in history this year as it pits Penarol of Uruguay against Brazil’s Santos, a showdown between the two soccer clubs that won the first four editions of South America’s top club tournament.

Penarol won in 1960 and 1961, but it was the 1962 final Penarol vs Santos that is best remembered. Pele led Santos to the title, and Santos won again a year later, beating Boca Juniors.

Santos hasn’t won since. Wednesday’s first leg is the first step, with the second leg on June 22 in Sao Paulo. Penarol has won five titles and trails only Boca Juniors with six and fellow Argentine club Independiente with seven.

All eyes will be on 19-year-old Santos forward Neymar, who is being compared with Pele. He has five goals in the competition and is usually a threat whenever he touches the ball, often breaking in from the wing and slicing through defenders to find an opening.

Pele lent his support to Santos on Tuesday, stopping by the team’s training camp before it departed for Uruguay.

Pele joked with Neymar about his Mohawk hairstyle, saying he was copying his hairdo from the 1958 World Cup. Pele showed an old magazine photo that featured him sporting the same hairstyle.

Neymar will team up with midfielder Elano, both of whom has been named to Brazil’s national team for the Copa America, the continental championship that opens July 1 in Argentina.

Santos’ main problem will be on defence. Captain Edu Bracena is suspended for the match after being sent off in the semifinal against Paraguay’s Cerro Porteno. Two other defenders — Jonathan and Leo — could miss with injuries.

Penarol will be at full strength with a powerful midfield filled by Luis Aguiar, Nicolas Freitas, Mathias Corujo and Matias Mier.

“This team has heart,” Mier said. “We are not going to let up. We’re very focused on this match with Santos.”

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