Santos set up Corinthians semifinal clash after Copa shootout

Striker Neymar, who has been linked with a host of European clubs, celebrates Santos' win.

Story highlights

  • Santos will face Sao Paulo rivals Corinthians in Copa Libertadores semifinals
  • The reigning champions beat Argentina's Velez Sarsfield on penalties
  • Universidad de Chile beat Libertad of Paraguay in a shootout to reach the last four
  • The Chilean team will play Boca Juniors for a place in the final

Reigning champions Santos set up a Copa Libertadores semifinal showdown with Sao Paulo rivals Corinthians after a nailbiting penalty shootout victory over Argentina's Velez Sarsfield.

Three-time winners Santos, trailing 1-0 heading into Thursday's second leg, were boosted when Velez goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero was sent off for bringing down attacking star Neymar.

The Brazilian giants struggled to make their numerical advantage count, but finally made the breakthrough after 77 minutes when striker Alan Kardec converted in fine fashion following good work from defender Leo.

In the shootout, Santos goalkeeper Rafael was the hero, with his save from fullback Emiliano Papa proving to be the difference between the two sides.

Who are European football's MVPs?

"Velez were very difficult rivals, but I think we deserve the qualification," Rafael said on FIFA's official website.

Neymar dealing with the pressure
Neymar dealing with the pressure


    Neymar dealing with the pressure


Neymar dealing with the pressure 03:19
Didier Drogba leaves Chelsea
Didier Drogba leaves Chelsea


    Didier Drogba leaves Chelsea


Didier Drogba leaves Chelsea 03:55

"Now we have to work harder because Corinthians will be a harder challenge."

Corinthians, seeking a first win in South America's premier club competition, booked their place in the last four by defeating fellow Brazilians Vasco da Gama on Wednesday.

Thursday's other quarterfinal was also decided by a penalty shootout, with Universidad de Chile advancing at the expense of Paraguay's Libertad.

With the scores level at 1-1 after the first leg, Universidad drew first blood in front of their own fans through Marcelo Diaz's 18th-minute free-kick.

But just four minutes later, Universidad handed Libertad a lifeline when defender Osvaldo Gonzalez put the ball past his own goalkeeper to make the score 2-2 on aggregate.

Victor Hugo Ayala saw his spot kick saved by Universidad's Johnny Herrera, meaning the Chilean team set up a semifinal with Argentina's six-time champions Boca Juniors.

      Football Focus

    • French football great bids adieu

      After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
    • Mario's 'Queen' tweet tops 2014 list

      He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
    • bpr south african soccor senzo meyiwa death _00000402.jpg

      Loss of a South African 'icon'

      Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
    • German alleged jihadist Kreshnik B (R) listens to his lawyer Mutlu Guenal (L) as he arrives at the higher regional court in Frankfurt. His face is pixelated for legal reasons.

      From Jewish football to ISIS suspect

      Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
    • Where has 'Super' Mario gone?

      One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
    • Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.

      Should rapist return to work?

      Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
    • Teen, 15, makes Euro history

      Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.