Brazilian Palmeiras leads Argentina River Plate in Libertadores semi-final

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Avellaneda (Argentine) (AFP)

Brazilian Palmeiras beat Argentina 10 River Plate 3-0 on Tuesday in the first leg of their 2020 Copa Libertadores semi-final.

The teams met in an empty stadium in Avellaneda, Buenos Aires, the match preceded by a minute of silence observed for victims of the coronavirus pandemic.

The team that emerges victorious from the second leg in Sao Paulo next week will play against Boca Juniors of Argentina or Santos of Brazil in the January 30 final of South America’s biggest club football tournament.

The final at the Maracana Stadium has been postponed to November 2020 due to the global health crisis.

The first goal of the game came in the 26th minute on a long-range explosion from Palmeiras striker Rony.

A few minutes later Palmeiras had a shot denied for offside and River missed a chance with a wild free kick in the dying minutes of the first half.

Luiz Adriano scored for Palmeiras two minutes into the second half, squeezing a goal between the legs of goalkeeper Franco Armani.

River knocked down a man in the 60th minute when a frustrated Jorge Carrascal was given a red card for a Gabriel Menino kick.

The ensuing free kick was led by Matias Vina to make it 3-0 in the 62nd and leave the Argentina side with a mountain to climb in next week’s deciding game.

River Plate has lifted the Copa Libertadores four times since the tournament started in 1960 – most recently in 2018 – and Palmeiras once, in 1999.

Argentina’s teams have won the most finals – 25 in total.

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