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SPORTS | 02-08-2019 12:49

Boca-River clash in sight as Brazilian teams shine in Libertadores 

Brazilian teams are performing strongly in the Copa Libertadores – but local eyes will be drawn toward a potential semi-final clash between arch-rivals Boca Juniors and River Plate.

A Brazilian side is sure to play in the next Copa Libertadores final after Grêmio advanced to the quarter-finals on Thursday night and joined Palmeiras, Flamengo and Internacional on the same side of the bracket. The other finalist could come from a likely semi-final clash between local arch-rivals River Plate and Boca Juniorsm however.

All quarter-final matches will be played in the last two weeks of August.

Grêmio beat Paraguay's Libertad 3-0 away and won its Round-of-16 two-game series 5-0 in the aggregate result. The Porto Alegre club of Brazil winger Everton will face Palmeiras, which will be able to field former Chelsea midfielder Ramires for the first time in the South American tournament.

Palmeiras advanced by trashing Argentina's Godoy Cruz 6-2 in the aggregate result after a 4-0 win at home on Tuesday. The São Paulo-based club will play the second leg against Grêmio at home.

The winner will face either Flamengo or Internacional in the semifinals.

Flamengo advanced on Wednesday after beating Ecuador's Emelec on penalties after a 2-0 victory in regular time. The Rio de Janeiro team had lost the first leg by the same score.

Internacional beat Uruguay's Nacional 2-0 at home on the same day to make it 3-0 in the aggregate result.

Former Atlético Madrid left back Filipe Luís, who moved to Flamengo in July, will be eligible to play in quarter-finals against the team of Peruvian striker Paolo Guerrero.

Internacional will play the quarter-finals decider in its Beira-Rio Stadium in Porto Alegre.

The other side of the bracket opens a chance for a semi-final clash between the local finalists of the last edition of the South American club tournament.

Defending champions River Plate are the favourites against Paraguay's Cerro Porteño.

River eliminated Brazil's Cruzeiro on penalties on Tuesday after two scoreless draws. Cerro beat Argentina's San Lorenzo 2-1 on Wednesday after their first encounter ended 0-0 in Buenos Aires.

The second leg of the series will be played in Asunción.

Boca beat Brazil's Athletico 2-0 on Wednesday, with new signing Daniele De Rossi of Italy watching on at the Bombonera Stadium. The Xeneize had won the first leg 1-0.

Their next adversary will be Ecuador's Liga de Quito, which drew Paraguay's Olimpia 1-1 on Wednesday after a 3-1 win at home.

Boca are the favourites to advance, with the second leg of the series to be played in Buenos Aires.

River beat Boca 5-3 in the aggregate result of the most recent Copa Libertadores final, with the second leg played in Madrid because of fan violence prior to the game at the Monumental.

The single final match of this year's Copa Libertadores will be played November 23 at the Nacional Stadium of Santiago in Chile.

by MAURICIO SAVARESE, AP Sports Writer

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