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?
Arts and Entertainment
musicOfficial chart could be moved to accommodate Friday international release day
Wes Brown is sent-off
Italy celebrate scoring their second try
six nations
Glenn Murray celebrates scoring against West Ham
footballWest Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3
Arts and Entertainment
Drake continues to tease ahead of the release of his new album
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower