Paulinho's late winner sends Corinthians into the Copa Libertadores semi-finals
Corinthians secured their place in the semi-finals of the Copa Libertadores after beating Vasco 1-0 on Wednesday night.
Having played out a goalless draw in the first leg at São Januário last week, both sides were forced to go for it at the Pacaembu.
Vasco started the game well with Eder Luis and Romulo seeing a lot of the ball down the right wing, but as the half came into it's final stages, Corinthians managed to find their feet in the game. The Timão went close on two occasions, first when Emerson guided the ball just wide of the post and then when Paulinho’s powerful header forced Fernando Prass into a good save.
Following the half-time break, neither Corinthians or Vasco were willing to speed up the pace of the game with long balls being played up the park from both sides.
However, on the hour mark Vasco had a great chance to take the lead when Alessandro's attempted cross rebounded in favour of Diego Souza, who had the rest of the pitch clear in front of him. From inside his own half, Souza ran the ball up to the Corinthians penalty area to go one-on-one with Cássio. The former Palmeiras forward, however, failed to convert his finish, as he sent the ball just wide of the post much to the disbelief of the travelling supporters.
Moments after, both sides were denied by the wood work. Nilton header crashed against the crossbar, and then Emerson's shot inside the box was stopped by the post.
However, with three minutes remaining on the clock Corinthians were awarded a corner which Alex stepped up to take. The former Spartak Moscow midfielder swung the ball into the box and an unmarked Paulinho climbed highest to power in a header to send the home fans into raptures.
Tonight, Corinthians will find who they compete against in the semi-finals as their local rivals Santos take on Velez Sarsfield at the Vila Belmiro.
CORINTHIANS: Cássio, Alessandro, Chicão, Leandro Castán, Fábio Santos; Paulinho, Ralf, Danilo, Alex; Jorge Henrique (Willian), Emerson (Liedson)
VASCO: Fernando Prass, Fagner, Renato Silva, Rodolfo, Thiago Feltri (Felipe); Rômulo, Nilton, Juninho, Diego Souza; Eder Luis (Carlos Alberto), Alecsandro