On Wednesday night Estudiantes clinched a place in the final of the 2009 Copa Libertadores de América, 38 years after they last lifted the trophy. A 2-1 win after a goalless first half saw Estudiantes, Argentina’s only representatives to make it past the second round, through to the final 3-1 on aggregate. Mauro Boselli scored a crucial double to become the tournament’s leading goalscorer. The other semi, between Cruzeiro and Grêmio, concludes tonight.
The first half was hotly contested but pretty uninspiring to watch, with Estudiantes relying on the reflexes of outgoing goalkeeper Mariano Andújar and Nacional’s lack of nous at opening the visiting defence up. Estudiantes couldn’t find much in way of an opening with their own attacks, but they looked like they were playing within themselves, aware that after their 1-0 first leg win, it was up to their hosts to open up the tie.
Eight minutes into the second half, Estudiantes ‘liquidated’ the semi-final. Gastón Fernández, excellent whilst dropping deep from Estudiantes’ attack, defended from the front to set up Boselli, who made up for his miss in the first leg with a superb finish over the goalkeeper to leave Nacional needing three goals to go through.
Alexander Medina levelled the scores on the night with quarter-of-an-hour remaining, thanks to a slip from on-loan Newell’s defender Rolando Schiavi in the Estudiantes backline, but in stoppage time Boselli doubled his tally, stepping round the goalkeeper to finish off a counter-attack and send Estudiantes through on a high, even without Seba Verón.
Copa Libertadores semi-final second leg, 1st July 2009: Nacional (URU) (0) 1 – 2 (1) Estudiantes