It’s hard to say what decided it, really – Boca’s (relative) ruthlessness, or Grêmio’s utter, utter uselessness. The Brazilians seemed, during the first half, to want to attack, but weren’t ever allowed to settle on the ball as Boca played their usual home game in the Libertadores – high-tempo, getting in their opponents’ faces early on to disturb them, going for a goal early on and then settling back to dictate the play.
That goal came from Rodrigo Palacio in the 19th minute, after Martín Palermo had headed back across goal from a Juan Román Riquelme free kick around 35 yards out. Thereafter, Boca relaxed, and there were one or two scares – Tuta heading just over the bar and generally looking like he was doing his own work as well as that of strike partner Tcheco, who seemed to have decided not to turn up. The hosts were never out of control, though, and 1-0 it remained at the break.
In the second half, Sandro was sent off for kicking Ever Banega in the face whilst challenging for a high ball, and just one minute later his side were a further goal down after Riquelme drilled home a tapped-on free kick. Forced to attack more thereafter, Grêmio tried to make a fist of it, but couldn’t break through and were punished still further by a goal for Pablo Ledesma right at the death. 3-0 the final score, and if Grêmio don’t improve drastically on this showing by next week, the aggregate could be a cricket score…
The goals will be added tomorrow, as usual, but if you’re too impatient to wait, check our friends at GolesTV, who at the time of writing this piece already had Palacio’s opener online. The others should follow soon, but it’s gone 4am here in the UK so I’m going to bed.