Copa Libertadores Final 2011 1st Leg Preview

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Ritesh Gogineni
Editor/Founder of The False 9.
Santos and Penarol are two clubs in South America with a lot of history in this competition but have been winless for quite some time now .The first two editions of this competition were won by Penarol in 1961 and 1962 and then Santos defeated them in the 1963 final and in1964 a guy named Pele took Santos to victory again.We look at the game between the two South American heavyweights as they look to book a place in the FIFA club world cup.

Talking Points

Neymar
The so called heir to Pele,may play his last two matches for Santos against Penarol.Santos certainly will be hoping that Neymar puts in a strong performance and they can up his asking price by a few million.The nineteen year old Brazilian has so far managed to find the net 5 times in his debut copa season and looks to seal a place in Santos’s history by leading them to victory.
Paulo Henrique Ganso is injured
The young playmaker is injured and most likely wont make the starting line-up in the first leg although he is expected to be fit for the second leg.Another young star who is on the wishlist of many European gaffers,he is the creator-in-chief for Santos.He has a great vision and displayed all of his qualities in the knockout stages especially against Cerro Porteno.His coach Ramalho said,”he controlled the midfield like an artist“.
Estadio Centenario


The historic stadium in Ururguay was the venue for the first World Cup final way back in 1930.The old,creaking stadium will be full off vociferous Penarol supporters who will easily intimidate the bravest of players.The atmosphere in Montevideo will be electric where Penarol have notched up 2 wins and a draw in the knockout stages.The players of Santos especially the younger ones like Neymar will do good if they are not too distracted by the atmosphere.
Santos Center Backs vs Juan Manuel Oliviera
Santos have some injury concerns at the back with Leo and Jonathan ruled out.Their captain Edu Dracena is suspended for this game.Oliviera has been Penarol’s main goal threat with 5 goals in this tournament.Santos coach Ramalho most likely will play Bruno Rodrigo in defence to combat the aerial threat of Oliveira.
He said,”Bruno Rodrigo jumps well and they have a tall attacker so we need to think about all the details”.
Both the teams are likely to play with 4-4-2 which will make it a strange game tactically as we rarely see teams playing two strikers in the finals of major competitions in Europe.

Probable Starting Line-ups

Penarol (4-4-2):Sosa; G. Rodriguez, D. Rodriguez,Gonzalez, Valdez; Aguiar, Freitas, Corujo, Mier; Olivera, Martinuccio

Santos (4-4-2):Rafael; Bruno Aguiar, Bruno Rodrigo, Edu Dracena, Sandro; Adriano, Arouca, Danilo, Elano; Ze Eduardo, Neymar

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