Sudamericana: Goiás and Independiente progress to final (+video)
After this week’s semi-final, second legs the identities of the 2010 Copa Sudamericana finalists are now known. Little known Goiás Esporte Clube are through to their first ever continental final following an away goals win over compatriots Palmeiras whilst Argentina’s Independiente also progressed to the two-legged final via the same method.
The first leg of the all-Brazilian clash finished in a narrow 1-0 away win for Luiz Felipe Scolari’s Palmeiras team and the expectation was heavy on the former Copa Libertadores champions to progress to a first continental final since 1999. They didn’t reckon on the determination of a Goiás side who never knew when they were beaten in this tie and the 2-1 victory at the home of Palmeiras was deserved as much as it was unexpected. The turnaround in fortunes was all the more unexpected seeing as Luan gave Palmeiras the lead in the second leg, his 34th minute strike doubling the Verdão‘s advantage on aggregate. But Goiás were back in the game on the stroke of half-time as Carlos Alberto levelled the scores on the night and halved the aggregate deficit to 2-1. Suddenly Palmeiras had to try and resist further attacks from the outsiders but Goiás stuck to the task ahead and managed to take a second leg lead with just seven minutes of the game remaining. Ernando’s 83rd minute close range header gave Goiás the advantage on away goals with the overall score tied at 2-2 and for Palmeiras coach Scolari his dream had turned into a nightmare. With little time remaining to get back into the game Palmeiras just didn’t possess the spirit to score agin, much to the relief of the visitors who rejoiced in celebration at the final whistle.
WATCH PALMEIRAS v GOIAS 2ND LEG HIGHLIGHTS HERE
Independiente are back in the big time after reaching their first continental final since winning the 1995 Supercopa Sudamericana. The self-proclaimed Rey de Copas (King of Cups), seven-times winners of the Copa Libertadores, hope to add South American football’s youngest competition to the trophy cabinet after getting the better of defending champions LDU Quito after a tense couple of legs.
Independiente, 3-0 down to LDU in the first leg, managed to pull two goals back and it is those strikes that made all the difference. In the second leg on Thursday Facundo Parra gave Independiente the lead after 27 minutes to tie the aggregate score at 3-3 but LDU managed to score in first-half stoppage time when Juan Manuel Salgueiro popped up to restore parity on the night and regain the Ecudaorians’ aggregate lead. If LDU had ideas to keep it tight after the break their plans were blown out of the water just sixty seconds into the second half after Hernan Fredes scored what proved to be the most important goal of the two legs. With a 4-4 aggregate scoreline the Argentinians went through courtesy of away goals and they now hope to restore some honours to a trophy cabinet which has been running a little bit bare in recent years.
WATCH INDEPENDIENTE v LDU QUITO HIGHLIGHTS HERE: