It is advantage Grêmio in the Copa Libertadores final after the Brazilians ground out a hard-fought 1-0 over Lanús from their first leg meeting in Porto Alegre.
Grêmio have perhaps been the standout side from this year’s competition; Lanús well drilled in dropping deep and defending in numbers, expertly break at speed through Lautaro Acosta and Alejandro Silva.
The question was whether the home side could break down Lanús or if Jorge Almirón’s side would spring another surprise.
The truth was that moments of genuine quality were few and far between and instead a feisty game of tough tackles and penalty claims was played out.
Grêmio felt they should have had a spot kick but it was Marcelo Grohe who kept the home side level with two outstanding first half saves from Román Martínez and Diego Braghieri.
However, Grêmio improved after the break and eventually forced a breakthrough. It didn’t come from the underwhelming Luan but instead a hoof upfield towards centre forward Jael, whose flick on fell to Cicero and the midfielder poked the ball beyond Esteban Andrada.
The end of the match was spoiled somewhat by a delay in play thanks to flare smoke from the stands and a further trouble on the pitch between the players.
The two meet again next week in Buenos Aires and while Lanús are up against it after failing to score, their miraculous recovery against River Plate in the semi final will give reason for confidence.