Neymar delivers Copa Libertadores triumph to Santos

Santos 2 Peñarol 1 (Santos win 2-1 on aggregate)

It took a blast of Brazilian brilliance from Neymar to nudge the 2011 Copa Libertadores into Santos’ grasp.

At full-time Neymar hugged Pelé in the middle of the Pacaembu pitch he had played on alongside Ronaldo earlier in the month

Now Neymar has followed Pelé by bringing the Copa Libertadores to Santos there is no doubt the starlet is ready to re-enact Ronaldo’s achievements on the European stage.

However, no player has ever won South America’s most prestigious club competition single-handed. For his goal Neymar was ably assisted by a combination of brains and brawn from team-mates Paulo Henrique Ganso and Arouca.

When the ball was released to Neymar he jinked in from his perch on the left-hand angle of the Peñarol box and beat Sebastián Sosa at the near post.

Neymar put Santos in front shortly after the restart and their lead was doubled midway through the second period by another member of Brazil’s South American under-20 championship winning team. Right-back Danilo galloped into the opposition’s penalty area, wrong footed his marker and squeezed off a low finish with his left peg.

With Peñarol looking toothless in attack throughout the second leg it looked unlikely they would produce a sting in the tail. When they did get a goal ten minutes from time it had more than a hint of fortune about it as Santos defender Durval spooned the ball into his own net.

A grandstand finish was in the offing but despite plenty of huff and puff from the Uruguayans it remained the hosts who looked most likely to grab another. The fault for Santos not finding a third must be levelled at Zé Eduardo. The striker spurned a string of chances that were created by the axis of Neymar, Ganso and Elano.

Neymar was booked during the first leg in Montevideo and back home in Brazil he once again found his way into the referee’s notepad. Not for diving this time but rather for going in with a foot up on Alejandro González. The tackle may have been retribution for González nibbling on Neymar’s shins earlier in the match but the challenge put the Uruguayan out of the final. Evidence that there remains a few creases yet to be ironed out of the youngster’s game.

One player who did manage to get through the game unscathed was Ganso and that will be a massive relief to Brazil’s boss Mano Menezes. It was the playmaker’s first game back after another lengthy lay-off in what has been an injury plagued year.

Amid the inevitable scuffle that greeted the full-time whistle walked the dejected figure of Peñarol boss Diego Aguirre. During his playing days Aguirre scored a dramatic late winner for the Uruguayan giants in the Copa Libertadores final.

Aguirre had nobody on the pitch to step into his shoes the way Neymar had emulated Pelé. As for Neymar matching Pelé and Ronaldo’s exploits with the national team, as good a place as any to get started will be next month’s Copa America.

Santos (4-4-2): Rafael; Léo (Alex Sandro, 68), Edu Dracena, Durval, Danilo; Adriano, Arouca, Ganso (Pará, 86), Elano; Neymar, Zé Eduardo.

Yellow cards: Neymar, Zé Eduardo.

Goals: Neymar 47, Danilo 69.

Peñarol (4-4-2): Sosa; González (Albín, 38 - Estoyanoff, 79), Valdez, G. Rodriguez, D. Rodriguez; Corujo, Freitas, Aguiar, Meir (Urretaviscaya, 63); Martinuccio, Olivera.

Yellow cards: González, Corujo, Freitas.

Goals: Durval o.g. 80.

Referee: Sergio Pezzota (Argentina)



For more South American football and Copa America 2011 coverage, listen to The South American Football Show.



Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before