Atletico Nacional and Sao Paulo star in a vibrant semifinal of the Copa Libertadores. Boca Juniors is also onto the semifinal round after winning in a penalty shootout.
With all the possible drama imaginable, the 'Purslane' and 'Xeneize' made it through to the semifinals, the first after beating Rosario Central 3-1 in Medellin with a goal in injury time, while Boca had to resort to penalties to win 4-3 over Nacional after regulation time ended 1-1.
The 'Canalla' was a few seconds from getting their ticket to the semifinals, but a goal from Orlando Berrio at 90+4 minutes prevented the Rosarinos from punching said ticket.
After winning the first leg 1-0 in Rosario, the night was perfect for those led by Eduardo Coudet after Marco Ruben scored a penalty goal 8 minutes in, forcing the 'Purslane' to score three goals to get a spot in the next round.
The Colombian champion reacted at the close of the first half with a goal from Macnelly Torres (45+2) and at the start of the second period Venezuelan Alejandro Guerra (50) made it 2-1. The drama came in stoppage time when Berrio scored to unleash madness in Medellin.
In Buenos Aires, an own goal by Boca captain Daniel Diaz, at 21 minutes, silenced La Bombonera, but Cristian Pavón, at 73 minutes, scored to force a penalty shootout.
In the shootout Nacional got goals from Diego Polenta, Mauricio Victorino, Sebastián Fernández while Gonzalo Porras, Santiago Romero and Felipe Carballo missed. For Boca it was Carlos Tevez, Daniel Díaz, Frank Fabra and Federico Carrizo who scored while Pablo Pérez and Juan Insaurralde missed.
Boca now awaits the winner of the tie between Ecuador's Independiente del Valle and Pumas of Mexico.
After the quarterfinals have come to an end the Copa Libertadores will take a break for the Copa America Centenario to be played in the US. The tournament will resume at the end of June.
Text and photo: AFP