The first leg of the 2007 Copa Libertadores final is almost upon us, and for those of you not lucky enough to be watching it, Hasta El Gol Siempre has the next best thing – a live update which will give you the latest on what’s going on in the match. To enjoy this unique experience, simply open this article (click either the title or the ‘read more’ link which follows), and refresh every few minutes during the game. Lineups can be found further down the homepage.
Boca 3 – 0 Grêmio (FINAL SCORE)
All times are British Summer Time.
1:55am: Surprise surprise, kickoff is delayed. You didn’t really think it’d start on time, did you? The teams are now on the pitch, having enjoyed a grand entrance, and whilst the assorted TV crews and media hangers-on clear off, are preparing to start the match.
2am: We have kickoff.
3 mins: Boca have started the stronger, as usual when they’re at home, having forced a corner and a free kick already in the opening exchanges. Grêmio haven’t yet been allowed to settle.
7 mins: It’s starting to even out a little, though it’s fairly scrappy at this stage. The pitch is littered with decorative torn up paper, which is hardly encouraging a passing game. Mind you, at least we can see what’s going on this week!
10 mins: The first decent link up of the night sees Tuta scuff a shot wide for the visitors after Tcheco had found him running to the edge of the box with a backheel.
12 mins: Corner for Grêmio and Caranta is forced to push a header out at his near post from almost on the goal-line. It’s cleared away and the visitors have a free kick on the left. Battle has well and truly commenced.
15 mins: Boca are very lucky their opponents can’t shoot tonight. Grêmio have had three wonderful opportunities from the edge of the box – two shortly after that free kick – and spooned each of them really badly.
18 mins: GOL DE BOCA! A free kick in the right channel is whipped across goal by Riquelme, nodded back by Palermo and bundled over the line by Rodrigo Palacio. Grêmio can only stand and watch the celebrations – which is pretty much all they were doing when the kick was taken.
25 mins: Boca are beginning to settle a little more since the goal and look calmer and less hurried on the ball now. Grêmio are starting to make little niggly fouls in midfield, which won’t help their cause…
28 mins: But Boca aren’t averse to a bit of that themselves, as Morel Rodríguez reminds us by bodychecking an opponent just near the halfway line. The free kick comes to nothing.
30 mins: Palacio takes down a long ball from the back just inside the left-hand side of the Grêmio box, turns inside and shoots narrowly over the bar. Very nearly 2-0.
32 mins: Corner for Boca, which is half cleared and played back into the box very half-heartedly. Sebastián Saja, Grêmio’s Argentine ‘keeper (formerly with San Lorenzo), collects easily.
35 mins: An increasingly rare attack from Grêmio, as Sandro Goiano sends in a cross from very, very, very far back indeed, which Tuta heads just over the crossbar.
39 mins: Two crosses in quick succession from Boca fail to find their targets but they’re keeping hold of the ball and Grêmio are finding it really tough going at the moment.
40 mins: A lovely linkup between Riquelme and Banega looks like it might bring a promising situation, but the ball’s cleared into touch in a manner more befitting a British Sunday league game.
45 mins: As the clock ticks into injury time, a beautiful bit of play between Clemente Rodríguez and Neri Cardozo releases Riquelme on the left side of the box. He drags a shot just wide of the far post.
HALF-TIME – A slightly scrappy first half but Boca definitely deserve their lead. Grêmio are going to have to be a lot better in the second half if they want a goal to take back to next Wednesday’s second leg.
3:08am: The second half gets underway, and Boca go right out on the attack again. Starting as they left off…
49 mins: Almost unbelievably, Grêmio are actually stringing a couple of passes together from time to time. Boca are still dominating possession, but the visitors have had the ball in the six yard box at one point, only for it to be cleared.
53 mins: A gorgeous passing interchange between Clemente Rodríguez and Cardozo sees the former burst almost to the byline and cut it back for Palacio, whose shot is, amazingly, cleared off the line by a defender. A minute later, Palacio stabs a Riquelme free kick into the side netting at the far post. Two good chances to double the lead gone, but you can’t help thinking they’ll have others…
58 mins: Grêmio midfielder Sandro Goiano, going for a high ball with his foot for some reason, has kicked Ever Banega full in the face. It didn’t appear deliberate but it’s a straight red and he’s not a happy boy as he’s marched off the pitch.
63 mins: Since the red card, Grêmio have been preparing Lucas to join the fray. Boca are passing it about in front of their opponents now and Grêmio’s ambition – such as it was – has been reduced still further.
65 mins: Having escaped up the pitch, Grêmio have a free kick which momentarily looks dangerous but is cleared away. Another is then won out on the left wing, and swung in, but Tuta can’t control it and it’s a goal kick for Boca.
67 mins: Boca substitution: Neri Cardozo comes off for Jesús Dátolo.
71 mins: Lucas is ready to come on for Grêmio, but Tuta has gone down with a knocked ankle. If he’s the one to come off, the visitors are in trouble – his strike partner Tcheco’s been rubbish tonight.
72 mins: Lucas on for Tuta it is. Damage limitation from here on in, then.
73 mins: GOLAZO DE BOCA! A free kick 30 yards or so out, rolled by Ledesma for Riquelme who simply let fly into the top corner. A man up, 2-0 ahead and it’s game – if not quite tie – over, surely.
75 mins: Dátolo goes up for a header but is unable to add a third as he’s well beaten (and flattened in the process).
77 mins: A sweeping counter-attack from Grêmio ends up in the hands of Caranta, but for a second it looked like they might pull one back.
80 mins: Grêmio sub: Tcheco off for Douglas.
81 mins: Boca sub: Banega off for Battaglia.
84 mins: Free kick for Grêmio out on the left wing, but it’s easy for Caranta to come and collect. All the same, the visitors are starting to press forward now in search of something from the match.
87 mins: A shot from the edge of the Boca area is gathered by Caranta and then spilled right into the path of the unrushing Douglas. Who, surprised to see it come at him at such close quarters, contrives to put it wide rather than in the net.
89 mins: GOL DE BOCA! A shot by Riquelme from outside the box is pushed away to the left wing by Saja. Cardozo crosses it back in, and Ledesma, before being challenged by the ‘keeper, gets his head to it and it loops over the line off a defender. That’ll be the trophy, then.
90+3 mins: FULL TIME. Grêmio have got a lot to do to even make it look respectable, after this showing. Boca weren’t spectacular but their opponents were even worse and were made to pay. Final score: 3-0.