Reuters

Penarol join Santos in final

Penarol join Santos in final
By Reuters

03/06/2011 at 14:00Updated 03/06/2011 at 14:39

Five-times South American champions Penarol reached the Copa de Libertadores final, going through on the away goals rule after a 2-1 loss to Velez Sarsfield.

Velez, champions in 1994, beat the Uruguayan side 2-1 in an exciting second leg of their semi-final at the Fortin. Penarol had won the home leg 1-0 in Montevideo.

Penarol, who lifted the last of their titles in 1987, will meet Santos over two legs in the final after the Brazilians beat Cerro Porteno of Paraguay 4-3 on aggregate on Wednesday. It will be their second final after Pele's Santos beat Penarol in 1962.

Velez had central defender Fernando Ortiz sent off in the 69th minute for a second bookable offence and striker Santiago Silva missed a late penalty that would have put the Argentines through.

Penarol shocked Velez by taking the lead in the 34th minute to go two goals up on aggregate, just reward for their better play up to the point.

Alejandro Martinuccio linked in the middle with fellow striker Juan Manuel Olivera and fed the ball out left where midfielder Matias Mier shot home under goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero.

Velez striker Juan Manuel Martinez had a goal disallowed near the end of the first half for offside -- a wrong decision according to video replays -- and tempers flared just before halftime when Silva went down with his marker Carlos Valdez and the home side claimed a penalty.

However, the Argentine side equalised in first-half added time when goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa failed to hold a Maxi Moralez free kick from the left to the far post and substitute right back Fernando Tobio bundled the ball in.

Olivera missed a good chance to put the match beyond Velez in the 67th minute when Argentine Martinuccio set him up with only Barovero to beat but he sliced his shot wide.

Within a minute, Silva had fired Velez in front off the post after Martinez chested down midfielder Augusto Fernandez's cross.

Ortiz was sent off two minutes later for a foul on Martinuccio, having been shown his first yellow card in the first half for dissent.

Martinez earned 10-man Velez a penalty with quarter of an hour remaining for a chance to go ahead for the first time in the tie when he was brought down on the right edge of the box.

But when Uruguayan Silva took the penalty his supporting foot slipped as he shot and the ball went over the bar.

"I think this is a final we deserved to reach just as Velez would have deserved to... We've shown good defence and a quick counter-attack spreading the ball wide on the flanks," Sosa told Fox Sports after the relief of the missed penalty.

The joy of the Uruguayans at the final whistle, not least their brilliant 45-year-old coach Diego Aguirre who scored the winning goal for their 1987 title-winning side, contrasted dramatically with the pain of the faces of the Velez fans.

"I'm very happy going back to a final with Penarol with all the history we have," Aguirre said.

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