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América Vs. Santos, 2011 Copa Libertadores: Match Report, America Out With Head Held High


Club America was unable to get the ball past the wall that was Santos goalkeeper Rafael and go out of the Copa Libertadores despite controlling much of the game in Queretaro. The final score was 0-0 on the night and 1-0 to Santos overall.

The result continues the traditional dominance of Brazilian teams against sides from the Mexican league but that stat says very little about tonight's encounter.

America started on the front foot and kept Santos pinned back in their own half for most the game. Wonderkid Neymar was kept quiet and America played with an intensity that Santos couldn't keep up with in the middle of the park despite America's heavy schedule in recent weeks and last Sunday's vital game against rivals Pumas that was played at midday under the pounding sun.

For much of the game it seemed it was only a matter of time before America would score but Santos goalkeeper Rafael pulled off save after save to keep the Brazilian team ahead in the global aggregate score.

Top goalscorer in the Mexican league, Angel Reyna looked sharp and full of confidence when he came on early in the second half and had a string of shots saved by the inspired Rafael.

Santos did hit the post from a freekick early in the second half and had another chance soon after but was content to sit back. Bruno came on for Ze Eduardo before 70 minutes were up to shore up the midfield although it only invited America to push more men forward.

America had seven shots on goal compared to Santos' three and eight corners compared to Santos' one.

The bottom line remains the same old story: another Mexican team fell before one of Brazil's giants.

The game was played in an electric atmosphere in Queretaro. The tie was moved from America's usual home ground, the Estadio Azteca, because of preparations for an upcoming U2 concert. Nevertheless, Americanistas turned out in force and La Corregidora stadium was almost full. There was some crowd trouble during the first 45 minutes.

Santos will play Cruziero and Once Caldas in the Quarterfinals and remain one of the favourites to raise the Copa Libertadores.

America will now concentrate on the Mexican league playoffs.