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Cerro Porteno Vs. Santos FC, 2011 Copa Libertadores: Santos Book Spot In Final

Cerro Porteno may have made an entire Copa Libertadores run by making neutrals hate them with the most boring football ever, but with their backs against the wall they turned in a thrilling performance. Unfortunately for their raucous home supporters who turned the stadium into a sea of red, blue and noise, it was not enough. Santos FC went up early at Cerro and held on for dear life to draw the tournament semifinal second leg 3-3 and advance to the Copa Libertadores final 4-3 on aggregate.

Things started brightly for Santos. Neymar drew a free kick early on and Ze Eduardo got on the end of it to head it home and put Santos up 2-0 on aggregate. That, along with the away goal, made it look like it was over for the attack-lite Cerro team. They didn't make things easier on themselves when a ball headed back to goalkeeper Diego Barreto by his own teammate turned into comedy. Barreto barely made contact with the pass back, and it went into the net for a 3-0 Santos lead.

Cesar Benitez did his part to try and bring Cerro back before halftime. He got on the end of a corner kick to get the home side on the scoreboard, but it looked like it wouldn't matter much. Neymar scored right before the break and Santos were up 4-1 on aggregate. At halftime, Cerro appeared dead.

Apparently nobody told Cerro they were dead. Juan Manuel Lucero made things mildly interesting 30 minutes before fulltime with a goal for Cerro. They deserved the goal after controlling play and attacking well so when Lucero got the ball right in front of goal and finished, it seemed deserved. Too little, too late, but deserved.

Jonathan Fabbro made it look like it might not be too little, too late though. Fabbro scored a sensational individual goal, dancing on the ball as Santos defenders tried to take it from him. His great footwork opened up some space and he ripped a shot from distance that just got under the bar to make it 4-3 on aggregate. Cerro were alive.

Unfortunately for Cerro, that is all they had. Their one bright and entertaining match couldn't erase a tournament full of negative football and the football gods showed their might. Santos got the result they needed to advance to the Copa Libertadores final and Cerro were sent home.