LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 27: Neymar of Brazil looks on during the International friendly match between Brazil and Scotland at Emirates Stadium on March 27, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Copa Libertadores Final 2011, Santos Vs. Peñarol: Neymar Guides Santos To South American Crown

Though a late Peñarol goal made things interesting, brilliant goals from Neymar and Danilo have given Santos FC the Copa Libertadores title

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Copa Libertadores Final 2011, Santos Vs. Peñarol: Final Score, Neymar And Ganso Lead Santos To Victory

After a first half spent barely missing the net, Santos finally found the target in the second half and pulled away from Peñarol to claim the 2011 Copa Libertadores title. 19-year old Brazilian wunderkind Neymar scored a brilliant goal and Danilo netted a second, equally beautiful strike to give the Brazilian side their third Copa Libertadores title.

Neymar's goal came only two minutes after the second half kicked off. After a lightning fast build-up through the midfielder, culminating with a great pass from Arouca to Neymar out on left. Neymar made a quick move inside and buried a perfectly placed shot past Peñaro's keeper. Santos kept up the pressure and made it 2-0 thanks to another pinpoint shot from just inside the box by the defender Danilo.

With the lead staked, Santos fans began to get louder and dared to begin celebrating but Peñarol wasn't done yet. They were lucky to get away with a couple aggressive tackles but settled and began attacking the Santos goal. After some sustained pressure, they finally found the net in the 80th minute thanks to an own goal from Durval. Just minutes later, Paulo Henrique Ganso shockingly missed an open net that fortunately didn't come back to hurt Santos.

Despite Peñarol unloading everything and the kitchen sink at Santos for the final 10 minute, they were unable to get the needed second goal and Santos fans celebrated as their club lifted the trophy. 

The match was marred after the final whistle by several pitch invaders that angered the Peñarol players and set off a large brawl that lasted for several minutes and had to be subdued by police. After several different fights broke out, Peñarol players finally were ushered off the pitch and things calmed down. No matter what happened to set off  Peñarol it wasn't exactly a losing with class.


Copa Libertadores Final 2011, Santos Vs. Peñarol: Halftime, Still Scoreless

Santos are knocking on the door against Peñarol, but they just can't break it down. This story is similar to that of the first leg of the Copa Libertadores final, but the home side have been much more ambitious than the first leg, and as a result, probably deserve a goal by this point. Neymar has played well, while Paulo Henrique Ganso's re-introduction into the lineup is working well. Still, Santos do not have a goal and the score is still tied at 0-0 on aggregate.

The best opportunity for Santos came in the 25th minute, when they were granted a free kick 19 yards from goal as a result of Neymar being hauled down after receiving a pass from Ganso. Elano stepped up and hit an absolutely fantastic free kick, but his effort was saved by Carlos Sosa.

Peñarol have already been forced into one change, as Damian Gonzalez picked up an injury. He was replaced in the 38th minute by Emiliano Albin, and Peñarol's defense has suffered as a result.

Going into the tunnel after the halftime whistle blew, both teams got involved in a bit of pushing and shoving, and both teams were lucky to see none of their players booked.


Copa Libertadores Final 2011, Santos Vs. Peñarol: Paulo Henrique Ganso In Starting Lineup

After a month layoff and some questions about whether or not he was truly 90 minutes fit, Paulo Henrique Ganso is healthy and starting the second leg of the 2011 Copa Libertadores final for Santos FC. There are no surprises in their lineup, as he's joined by the likes of Neymar and Elano. Peñarol's lineup is also light on surprises, as they go with their normal 4-4-2. With Ganso in the lineup, they might feel like they have a better chance to attack through the middle than they did in the first leg, but they will still attack primarily down the wings. Here are the lineups.

Santos FC Lineup: Rafael, Danilo, Edu Dracena, Durval, Léo; Adriano, Arouca, Elano, Ganso; Neymar, Zé Eduardo

Peñarol Lineup: Sosa; González, Valdez, G. Rodríguez, D. Rodríguez; Freitas, Aguiar, Corujo, Mier; Martinuccio, Olivera

If you live in the USA, you can catch the game on Fox Deportes. Kickoff is at 8:50 pm ET from Brazil.


Copa Libertadores Final 2011, Santos Vs. Peñarol: Kickoff Time, TV Schedule, And More

Santos FC and Peñarol settled absolutely nothing in Montevideo last Wednesday, so with their Copa Libertadores Final tie locked up at 0-0, everything is on the line tonight in Brazil. Believe it or not, this game is accessible to just about everyone in the United States with cable or satellite and a sports package. So flip it on and watch Neymar and Paulo Henrique Ganso, because it might be your last opportunity to see them play in a Santos shirt. After this game they're leaving for Copa America duty, and after that they're probably off to Europe.

Santos FC vs. Peñarol

Time: 8:50 pm ET

Venue: Estádio do Pacaembu

TV: Fox Deportes (United States - Spanish), Fox Sports World (Canada), Fox Sports Premium (Latin America)

The continental championship for South American club football is at stake, tune in to see who will take over the reigns from last year's champions, Internacional.


Copa Libertadores Final 2011, Santos Vs. Peñarol: Paulo Henrique Ganso Will Play, According To Reports

Santos FC's star playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso, a member of Brazil's Copa America squad and a target for A.C. Milan, suffered a hamstring injury a month ago that would reportedly keep him out of the Copa Libertadores Final. However, reports circulated last week that he would be able to make an appearance in the second leg of the final, and now reports are circulating in Brazilian media that Ganso will not only be on the bench, he might be 90 minutes fit.

Portuguese language outlets R7 Esportes and ExpressoMT, among others, are reporting that Ganso is 90 minutes fit and that he is in contention to start for Santos tonight against Peñarol. The Santos attack has looked a bit flat without Ganso in the lineup, so manager Muricy Ramalho might be willing to take a slight risk on the cardio of Ganso if he's medically cleared by doctors. If Santos can score early, Ramalho can take Ganso out after 45-60 minutes, putting his team in the best position to win while not over-working his young star. 


Copa Libertadores Final 2011, Santos Vs. Peñarol: Leg 2 Preview

The first leg of the 2011 Copa Libertadores Final in Montevideo was a predictable affair. Santos held most of the possession, but didn't do a lot with it. Peñarol didn't look good, but they were able to create a couple of great scoring chances on set pieces and on the counter-attack. Ultimately, the game ended 0-0 with neither team willing to commit numbers forward with abandon, pushing for a goal. Santos were content to take their chances at home, while Peñarol were content to avoid conceding an away goal.

While that latter point is certainly a good thing for Peñarol, the advantage sits with the team who is playing at home in the second leg. Santos weren't able to break down Peñarol in the first leg, partially because of their lack of ambition and partially because Peñarol is a very good team. In the second leg, Santos might be able to bust out their ace in the hole; the player who should allow them to easily break down Peñarol's defensive posture without the ball.

That player is Paulo Henrique Ganso, the up and coming Brazilian playmaker who is expected to be snapped up by a big European club - probably A.C. Milan - in the coming months. Ganso sustained a hamstring injury a month ago and missed the first leg of the final, but most believed last week that he would be able to play in this game. He has not yet been named a starter or ruled out of the game.

If Ganso is 90 minutes fit and starting the game for Santos, the mission is clear for Peñarol: They must score. An away goal means that a draw sees them lift the cup, and they're not going to be able to keep a Santos side with Neymar and Ganso off the board in Brazil. 

Santos will play this game which a much more obvious sense of urgency, but expect it to start much like the first leg of the final, with both teams feeling each other out. It's likely that both teams could be patient and content with a 0-0 draw, but Peñarol will be the team more willing to take that result. The longer the tie stays 0-0, the more Peñarol will bunker and the more Santos will push forward.

If you're a neutral looking for fun, root for an early Santos goal that causes Peñarol to get a little more ambitious. If Santos can get an incredibly boring Cerro Porteño side to play a fun match, they can easily do the same with Peñarol, who are not inherently negative, just focused on shape and counter-attacking. 

Santos are favorites, but anything can happen. This is Copa Libertadores, after all.

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