Fluminense through to final
(Reuters) Thursday 5 June 2008
Fluminense scored three times in the last half hour to beat champions Boca Juniors 3-1 on Wednesday and reach the Copa Libertadores final for the first time.
The Brazilians won their semi-final tie 5-3 on aggregate after coming from behind to beat six-time champions Boca in a pulsating second leg at the Maracana. They now face Ecuadorean champions LDU, who will also be making their first appearance in the final.
Fluminense survived an amazing onslaught by Boca before Dodo scored their third goal in injury-time to clinch the win.
Fluminense goalkeeper Fernando Henrique prevented Boca from grabbing a halftime lead when he turned away a header by Martin Palermo in the 40th minute. The burly Boca striker had also twice before been close, and his persistence was rewarded in the 58th minute when he got away from his marker to head in Jesus Datolo's cross at the far post.
Fluminense replied five minutes later when forward Washington curled in a 25-metre free kick, and went ahead in the 71st minute when Boca defender Hugo Ibarra turned Dario Conca's wayward shot into his own goal.
Fluminense then had to cling on desperately as they survived a fierce spell of Boca pressure. Henrique saved a shot from Sebastian Battaglia, and then tipped away a Palermo header before Pablo Ledesma had a shot blocked on the line by Thiago Silva.
Another Ledesma shot bobbled narrowly wide of the goal before Henrique made a spectacular save on his goal line to stop another Palermo header. Datolo also went close with a bicycle kick.
Fluminense made the game safe in the third minute of injury-time when Rodrigo Palacio, trying to play his way out of defence, sent a pass straight to Dodo, who coolly slotted the ball past Pablo Migliori.