It was 0-0 in La Bombonera, where they had the initiative but lacked effectiveness.
Valentín Barco was the most dangerous, but Almirón took him out with 20 minutes left.
Next Thursday, the rematch in San Pablo.
The Copa Libertadores is suffering . Thus, no champion walked through the most important tournament on the continent until lifting the trophy smelling of perfume. And if Boca wants to play the final of the 2023 edition, it will have to sweat in Brazil . In the first leg of the semifinals in La Bombonera they drew 0-0 against Palmeiras and left ambivalent feelings between a first half in which they generated many situations and a second half in which they felt tired and ended up disconcerted after the changes made by the coach. Jorge Almirón .
It will be a week of strong emotions until next Thursday when it will be decided at the Allianz Parque de San Pablo whether he gets the ticket to the final on November 4 at the Maracaná or if he stays on the road. In the middle, on Sunday, they will play the Superclásico against River .
The feeling is that Boca did not win . The first half of Xeneize was excellent. What Jorge Almirón thought happened on the playing field -almost- as he had planned. And it's not a secret, his team needs to be forceful in the rival area . That is why he reached the semifinal without having scored in three of the four mata-mata matches that he had played (one against Nacional and the two against Racing) and he needed penalties and the hands of Chiquito Romero to access this stage . . The difference with the first leg of the semifinals is that in the first 45 minutes he generated more than he had done - almost without exaggeration - in the entire tournament.
The first scoring opportunity went to Edinson Cavani , with a left-footed shot that he took after a Barco cross from the left. The last of that first stage was also from the Uruguayan with a header that just missed the post and caused a spectacular avalanche on the first layup. In the middle, there were two from Merentiel: one offside (very fine), and the other with a right cross that Weverton covered. In addition, Medina and Barco deflected their shots over the crossbar from favorable positions to hit the goal and there were at least three or four other approaches that were diluted because the last touch was missing or because an incorrect decision was made.
Boca played decidedly well in the first half with a 4-4-2 in which Barco and Cavani shared the leadership of the team. The Fernández, Pol and Equi share the middle and Rojo commands the defense. In this scheme, the one who sacrifices himself is Medina, very isolated like eight.
Palmeiras, meanwhile, came out to hold on to the game . To cool down as much as possible the fervor of a packed stadium that roared at every local advance and to delay every free kick. To sleep the ball between their line of five defenders and look for the diagonals of Rony and Arthur, two fast forwards who gave them no reference to Figal and Rojo.
The Brazilian team showed little. His coach, the Portuguese Abel Ferreira , did not come to work in South America to enter into that controversy that decides which football is better, "over there" or "here." He doesn't give anything away, he is pragmatic , and without brilliance he has already bagged two Libertadores (2020 and 2021). He goes for the third with a repeated formula: solidity in the goal, in Gustavo Gómez and in making the most of the opportunities he generates. In San Pablo, he will take center stage and the roles will be reversed.
But you win football by scoring goals . And Boca seems to have its goal closed. He was able to scream in the second half due to a left-footed shot by Barco that Weverton left alive in the six-yard box and Cavani did not push. Afterwards, Almirón reached into the bank and Boca's image blurred.
To the inexplicable departure of Barco (Lucas Janson entered in his place) was added the entry of Jorman Campuzano , a tactically organized player with a lot of marking, but without a deep pass or weight in attack. And what Boca needed was a goal. Benedetto entered and at the end Changuito Zeballos . But the effort had already been made. And the ball didn't go in. Palmeiras did their business and now Boca will have to face the Superclásico without legs, with the stress of the Cup and the need to go to San Pablo to qualify. It will be a mistake to try to take the series to penalties, as Boca did in the Cilindro de Avellaneda. Because as the song says "to be a champion today you have to win."
Source images: Twitter CONMEBOL Libertadores.