Heartbreak For Boca As Fluminense Make the Copa Libertadores Final

Defending champions Boca Juniors will not be taking place in the Copa Libertadores final after losing 3-1 (5-3 on aggregate) away at Brazilian side Fluminense in a thrilling semi final second leg. Currently at the bottom of the Brazilian first division, Fluminense appear to be a side able to pull out big results when the big occasion calls.

The thunderous support of 100,000 fans pushed Fluminense on and nearly made an early breakthrough when the experienced Washington smacked the ball over the bar from close range. The pressure on the Boca goal was maintained for the first 20 minutes except for one Boca breakaway which culminated in an unlikely miss from Martin Palermo.

Undeterred by his miss Palermo was thwarted only minutes later by Flu goalkeeper Fernando Henrique who kept out a fine header. Down the other end and Fluminense attacker Thiago Neves smashed a free kick over from an inviting situation to the agony of the home fans and disappointment of his manager. Not long after and its was Boca talisman and Argentina soccer hero Juan Roman Riquelmes chance to grab the headlines but the attacking midfielder saw his free kick balloon over the bar.

The last incident of the half saw Palermo involved yet again but his powerful header was stopped once again by an agile Henrique. As Boca went in at half time they knew that they Liga ciputra had played well but would need a goal in the second half to make it into the final.

As the whistle blew for the second half, violence kicked off between the Boca Juniors fans and the police. This unsavoury incident nearly overshadowed a great long range effort from Boca striker Rodrigo Palacio. Once again goalkeeper Henrique coming to Fluminenses rescue. Minutes later and a powerful strike from Flus Cicero flew inches past the woodwork.

This seemed to rally the Boca troops and in the 55th minute they broke the deadlock against the run of play. Palermo grabbing his seventh goal of this seasons Libertadores with a great back post header. The Fluminense players looked devastated but replied with gusto through a superb free kick from Washington that shocked Boca stopper Pablo Migliore. The turnaround was complete when in the 71st minute Dario Conca won the ball back for Fluminense crossed the ball into the Boca box and saw it deflected into the back of the net. The roar from the Fluminense fans was ferocious they could sense victory was there for the taking.

Boca bravely fought on to grab an equaliser to put the match into extra time and came close through Pablo Ledesmas measured effort. Who was there to make the save? That man Henrique. Chances were wasted at both ends but in injury time Dodo sealed the win for Fluminense and a place in the final when he skipped past two Boca defenders a slotted the ball past Migliore.

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