The drama will have to wait until next week after Boca Juniors and Santos failed to add any spark to their semi final first leg encounter on Wednesday evening.
An empty Bombonera was the setting and without the vociferous home support driving on Boca and an atmosphere so unthreatening that Santos could enjoy the half time break out on the pitch, the opening act of this tie passed almost without incident.
Santos may argue otherwise with a hastily written letter to CONMEBOL expressing their displeasure with the use of VAR after a second half penalty appeal was waved away but in truth neither side did enough to draw first blood.
Cautious, perhaps overly so, not to concede an away goal Boca were looking to the pace of Sebastián Villa in attack but despite one early chance it failed to stretch an excellent Santos backline. Even with Boca missing the injured Jorman Campuzano, the Brazilians didn’t look to impose themselves on the midfield and they too sought to counter with the dangerous front three of Marinho, Kaio Jorge and Yeferson Soteldo. However threatening on paper that was, it too delivered little.
It wasn’t until the final half an hour when the game had any real moments. Miguel Angel Russo tried to introduce more creativity by making the bold move of replacing defensive midfielder Diego González with Colombian playmaker Edwin Cardona and in truth it only served to invite Santos on.
Marinho was fortunate to avoid punishment for a late challenge on Frank Fabra and soon after the Brazilian was clumsily bundled over by Carlos Izqueirdoz in the penalty area. Referee Roberto Tobar saw nothing as did the VAR officials and Boca breathed a heavy sigh of relief.
All that was left was for Kaio Jorge to shoot over from the edge of the box and Leonardo Jara to do likewise late on after good work down the left between Villa and Fabra. The two wild finishes capturing a game that lacked quality and precision in the final third.
There will be no such room for caution next week. Santos will feel confident that home advantage will see them through yet Boca know just one away goal changes the complexion of the tie completely.