Boca Juniors 1-0 River Plate (Agg: 1-2): Holders reach Copa Libertadores final
'I cannot be happier, it just cannot fit into my body,' says River boss Marcelo Gallardo; River face Flamengo or Gremio in the final in Chile on November 23
Last Updated: 23/10/19 9:24am
Reigning champions River Plate qualified for the final of the Copa Libertadores 2-1 on aggregate on Tuesday despite losing 1-0 and surviving a late onslaught by arch-rivals Boca Juniors.
River won the first leg of the semi-final 2-0 at their home stadium earlier this month and were on the back foot for large parts of the match, but it was not until the last few minutes that Boca threatened River's two-goal lead.
Substitute Jan Hurtado got on the end of Lisandro Lopez's commanding header with just 10 minutes left, but the home side could not get the all-important equaliser.
The match, which came less than a year after violence interrupted the competition final between the same two clubs, was delayed for 15 minutes due to the amount of ticker tape on the pitch, but passed without any major security incidents.
Last year the second leg of the final was moved to Spain after River fans attacked the Boca coach as it neared River Plate's Monumental stadium.
And in 2015 Boca were kicked out of the competition after their fans attacked the River players with pepper spray in the tunnel at half-time of their last-16 tie.
Tuesday's result means that River meet either Flamengo or Gremio in the final planned for Santiago, Chile on November 23.
The two Brazilian sides meet on Wednesday's second leg in Rio, with the tie balanced at 1-1 after the first leg in Porto Alegre.
'I cannot be happier, it just cannot fit into my body'
Reacting to a result that sends his side to the showdown, River head coach Marcelo Gallardo said: "I have an enormous happiness for the players, I have great joy and happiness for our people who must be very happy.
"Playing a Copa Libertadores final leaving Boca out again I cannot be happier, it just cannot fit into my body. In order to reach a Copa Libertadores final, you also need to know how to suffer and well, today we suffered."
Boca captain Carlos Tevez said: "I feel proud because not every supporter when a team lose with their classic rival has the greatness of applauding you, standing up. I am proud to wear this shirt, to be the captain of this club and yes, this hurts in my soul, we couldn't give people joy but I am proud to be from Boca."