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Copa Libertadores Final preview

Neymar (centre) has scored in the previous two rounds for Santos
Action Images
Santos take on Penarol tonight in Uruguay in the first-leg of the 2011 Copa Libertadores final.

After emerging from a group containing Cerro Porteno, Colo-Colo and Deportivo Tachira, Santos then defeated Club America and Once Caldas in the knock-out stages, before facing Cerro Porteno again in the semi-finals. They claimed a narrow 1-0 win the first leg, before a thrilling 3-3 draw in the second game saw them progress 4-3 on aggregate.


Penarol have already defeated Brazilian opposition so far in this season's competition, winning 3-2 on aggregate against Internacional in the last 16. They have only lost one game at home in the competition this season, and have usually progressed on the strength of their home performances, losing the away legs in the last two rounds.


The two sides won the first four Copa Libertadores' between them, and met in the 1962 final, with the brilliant Pele inspiring Santos to lift the trophy. Peixe retained the trophy the following year, but that was the last time they won the tournament. Penarol have won the trophy five times, three more than Santos, with their last triumph in 1987.


Santos will be without young play-maker Ganso. The 21-year-old picked up a thigh injury in May, but hopes to be fit for the second leg. Bruno Aguiar and Bruno Rodrigo come into the side after missing the semi-final second leg. Penarol will be unchanged from their away-goals win over Velez Sarsfield.


Including the 1962 final matches, these two sides have met 12 times in continental competition. Santos have won five times, Penarol have won four and there have been three draws. The Brazilian side will once again look to the goals of Neymar, who has five so far in this year's Libertadores.


The game kicks off at 01:50am UK time on Thursday morning. Check back on Sambafoot tomorrow for a full report.


Probable line-ups:


Penarol: Sosa; G Rodriguez, D Rodriguez, Gonzalez, Valdez; Aguiar, Freitas, Corujo, Mier; Olivera, Martinuccio.


Santos: Rafael; Bruno Aguiar, Bruno Rodrigo, Edu Dracena, Sandro; Adriano, Arouca, Danilo, Elano; Ze Eduardo, Neymar.


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