Last week’s goalless draw in La Bombonera was a tight and tense affair and tonight’s second leg in Rosario was no different. Neither team could score the decisive goal and so the only way to separate the two sides was the drama of penalties. As both sides took turns to score and miss in equal measure it took until Newell’s 13th spot kick from Maxi Rodriguez to seal their place in the semi finals. Newell’s wait to see who will be their opponents, Atletico Miniero, of Brasil or Tijuana, of Mexico, and as they also sit top of the Clausura with 4 games remaining they are on the brink of a truly historic season. REPORT AND VIDEO OF THE SHOOTOUT HERE….
Boca Junior’s season is now left in tatters after Carlos Bianchi’s gamble to sacrifice the league in favour of the Copa Libertadores has left them with nothing but it could have been so different in Rosario. Bianchi’s defensive 4-4-1-1 limited Newell’s to few chances and so despite Martino trying to press the game, neither side could create a meaningful opportunity and the former Libertadores winning coach’s tactic almost worked.
The key moment, and the one that has angered Carlos Bianchi, came in the 55th minute. Moments earlier, Boca came within a lick of paint of taking the lead, and earning the crucial away goal, as Juan Roman Riquelme’s inswinging cross was headed by Nicolas Blandi only to crash back off the woodwork. As Newell’s broke, Clemente Rodriguez was penalised for a fairly innocuous push and referee, German Delfino gave a free kick. A yellow card was brandished and in a moment of frustration, Rodriguez “bumped” into Delfino, causing the referee to send him off.
Despite their numerical advantage, Newell’s couldn’t score and so the tie was sent to penalties. Perhaps the opening penalty set the tone for the shootout, as the usually, ever-so reliable Riquelme saw his spot kick saved. What followed was a contest that went backwards and forwards with both sides having the opportunity to win the game. Eventually, Juan Manuel Martinez saw his spot kick saved and this time the crucial kick fell to the experienced, Maxi Rodrigeuz. He made no mistake in beating Agustin Orion and sent Newell’s into the semi finals.