Mauro Zárate antagonising his old club, Vélez being denied a clear penalty and then Brazilian club Athletico Paranaense chipping in via social media to give their support in what is adjudged to be a bias towards Boca Juniors at La Bombonera meant there were no shortage of talking points from the goalless draw that eventually saw Boca nick a semi final spot.
Vélez’s inability to take a lead from the stalemate in Liniers at the weekend made their task all the more difficult at La Bombonera but Gabriel Heinze’s side were once again the better side and left to rue missed chances before their penalty anguish.
A far brighter start than in the first leg, Sebastián Villa and Lucas Robertone had both tested the opposing goalkeepers in the opening exchanges before Mauro Zárate came within a whisker of the breakthrough, a superbly struck free-kick beating Lucas Hoyos only to come back off the crossbar.
Villa would spurn another opportunity one-on-one with Hoyos and then an accidental clash of heads with teammate Nahitan Nández would leave Zárate bloodied and to the undoubted delight of Vélez supporters sporting a fetching swimming cap. Any joy was short-lived though with Vélez fuming just before the break after Emmanuel Mas clearly pulled back on the shirt of Joaquín Laso only for referee Fernando Espinoza to wave away appeals.
With the tie still in the balance it was Vélez who stepped up after the break and only a number of excellent stops from Esteban Andrada denied the visitors. Gastón Giménez from long range, Leandro Fernández through on goal and the talented youngster Thiago Almada all thwarted by the Argentina international and although Carlos Izquierdoz went close at the other end with a header the Boca defender would later be sent off for a foul on Agustín Bouzat with Vélez in the ascendency.
Boca would hold on and force the tie to penalties and as expected Gustavo Alfaro’s side were perfect from the spot. Braian Cufre blazing over Vélez’s second proved decisive and so Julio Buffarini slotting in the fifth and final spot kick sent Boca into the semi finals.
Boca Juniors 0 – 0 Velez Sarsfield (AGG 0-0)
Boca won 5-4 on penalties
Argentinos Juniors lie ahead for Boca in the semis after the Bichos secured a 2-1 win over Gimnasia in La Plata.
Following the goalless first leg in La Paternal, a superb Alexis Mac Allister header broke the deadlock inside 20 minutes and with the Brighton signing pulling the strings the visitors looked as though they could put the tie to bed.
Gimnasia eventually came back into it and after going close before the break, Santiago Silva eventually equalised, pouncing on a rebound to fire past Lucas Chaves.
At this point Gimnasia were the more likely winners and Brian Mansilla was inches away from sliding in a second before the Racing Club loanee missed a glorious one-on-one chance. This proved costly and fifteen minutes from time Jonathan Sandoval rose to head Argentinos back in front from a corner.
Now in need of two Gimnasia pushed forward but couldn’t find a way to turn things around so Argentinos Juniors celebrated their somewhat surprising semi final berth.
Gimnasia 1 – 2 Argentinos Juniors (AGG 1-2)