Santos take goalless draw back to Brazil

Penarol and Santos draw 0-0 in Montevideo in first leg of Copa Libertadores final.

Penarol Santos
A policeman confronts a member of the small contingent of travelling Santos fans at the Centenario [EPA]

Penarol were held 0-0 by Santos in a highly charged first leg of the Copa Libertadores in Montevideo as the great rivals relived a South American classic at the Centenario.
Uruguayan side Penarol had a goal by substitute striker Diego Alonso disallowed four minutes from time for offside, a decision shown to be correct by television replays. 

The match started in an electric atmosphere as Penarol set out to relive their glory years when they won the trophy five times between 1960, when the competition was first held, and 1987 when present coach Diego Aguirre scored the winner.

The crowd of more than 60,000 was almost all in place more than an hour before kickoff, creating a sea of black and yellow everywhere in the famous stadium, venue of the first World Cup final in 1930 won by Uruguay.

It was punctuated only by a packed enclave of while clad Santos fans in one corner, the expectations high of seeing their team win the trophy for the third time and first since their Pele-inspired victories in 1962 and 1963.

Brazil teenager Neymar created the first good chance for Santos when he made a diagonal run into the box and laid the ball off to defender Alec Sandro but his low shot was saved by Sebastian Sosa.

Neymar showed some of the trickery that has made him the most exciting prospect in Brazil but Penarol mostly managed to control his attacking runs.

Santos might have scored with quarter of an hour to go, but striker Ze Eduardo put his free header just wide of the far post from Sandro’s cross.

Penarol’s veteran left back Dario Rodriguez put a lob just over the bar late in the first half in one of the home side’s clearest chances minutes after fellow defender Guillermo Rodriguez headed straight at the keeper.

With Penarol poised to clamber out of the tunnel onto the pitch at the beginning, the crowd erupted with fire crackers, Roman candles, smoke bombs and incessant chanting, the smoke only clearing in time for the kickoff.

“In a final what you most look for is the result,” a disappointed Aguirre told Fox Sports.

“But I think the draw is okay.”

The Uruguayan side’s striker Alejandro Martinuccio said: “We dominated the whole match, created more than Santos.

“I think in Brazil they’ll be strong there but we’re Penarol and we’re going to have to win away.”

Source: Reuters