Brazil’s Cruzeiro put themselves in a good position to claim a third Libertadores Cup title when they secured a scoreless draw at Estudiantes in a scrappy first leg of the final.
Brazil national team goalkeeper Fabio was in fine form for the visitors with a string of outstanding saves, including two from skipper Juan Sebastian Veron in the first half, before Cruzeiro almost grabbed a late winner.
Despite the outcome, the Argentine will still fancy their chances of causing an upset in the second leg in Belo Horizonte next Wednesday.
“We had the best chances… but their goalkeeper had his night,” Veron, whose side are looking for a fourth victory in the competition for Estudiantes, told Fox Sports.
“We surely deserved more. If they hadn’t had Fabio, history would be different, but the goalkeepers are there to do that job.
Fabio, Cruzeiro’s captain, said: “It’s a good result, the team played well, it was very difficult. We even had chances to score.
“My hardest save was in the first half face to face (with Perez).
“Estudiantes will make things very difficult in Belo Horizonte. They played well and we got a good result. It was a difficult match and we’ll try to get the result we need at the Mineirao.”
The Copa final this year marks the first time Estudiantes have reach the championship round in 39 years. The club won the Copa Libertadores for three consecutive years,1968-1970.
This year also marks the 50th birthday of the Copa Libertadores, South American football’s equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.