Boca Juniors only non-Brazilian club to reach 2023 Copa Libertadores semifinals

Argentinian side Boca Juniors is the sole club capable of preventing a fourth consecutive all-Brazilian final in the Copa Libertadores. The tournament’s ultimate showdown is scheduled for November 4 at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium.

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Palmeiras, the winners of the tournament in 2020 and 2022, will be facing Boca in what is expected to be a thrilling event. In the other semifinal, Internacional will face Fluminense, with Fluminense being the last team to advance earlier.

Boca advanced via penalties after two goalless draws against their local rival, Racing, earlier on Wednesday. Palmeiras secured their place in the last four on the same day after a goalless draw with Colombia’s Deportivo Pereira. The Brazilians had previously won the first leg 4-0.

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Internacional had defeated Bolivar 2-0 in Porto Alegre on Tuesday, with two goals from Ecuador’s international player Enner Valencia. The Brazilian team had previously won the first leg 1-0 in La Paz.

Fluminense, the only semifinalist yet to win the Copa Libertadores, defeated Paraguay’s Olimpia 3-1 in Asuncion. This away victory gave the Rio-based team a 5-1 win on aggregate.

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John Kennedy opened the scoring for the visitors in the 24th minute, but the hosts equalised with Facundo Sabala in the 44th. Olimpia was reduced to 10 players when Fernando David Cardozo was sent off in the 71st minute, and Fluminense responded with two goals by German Cano. The first came in the 80th minute while the second was in added time.

Palmeiras secured Copa Libertadores titles in 2020 and 2021 by beating Santos and Flamengo, respectively. Last year, Flamengo overcame Athletico Paranaense to claim the South American crown.

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In the Copa Sudamericana, the region’s second-most prestigious club tournament, there will be a Brazilian finalist. Corinthians and Fortaleza, both teams that have never won the tournament, will face each other after eliminating Argentina’s Estudiantes de la Plata and Brazil’s America in the quarterfinals.

The other semifinal will be contested by two teams that have previously won the Copa Sudamericana and managed to eliminate Brazilian rivals in the quarterfinals.

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Argentina’s Defensa y Justicia eliminated Botafogo with a 2-1 victory at home after the first leg in Rio ended 1-1. Ecuador’s Liga de Quito beat Sao Paulo on penalties on Thursday following a 1-0 away loss, which brought the aggregate result to 2-2.

Robert Arboleda scored the only goal of the match at the Morumbi Stadium in the 77th minute, but new signing James Rodriguez missed the only penalty among all 10 takers, allowing the Ecuadorians to advance.

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The Copa Sudamericana final is scheduled to be played in Montevideo, Uruguay on October 28 .

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