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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Neymar's Magic Leads Santos into the Copa Libertadores Round of 16

Neymar's magic led Santos into the round of 16 in the Copa Libertadores where they will now face Mexico's America in the knock-out stages. With their backs to the wall in another must-win match to control their destiny, Neymar, Ganso, Elano, Danilo and company displayed their composure by carving out a 3-1 victory over the Venezeulan side Deportivo Tachira. Playing in Sao Paulo, Santos raced to an early lead thanks to a calmly taken goal by Neymar after receiving a finely threaded through ball from the left flank. Jonathon made it 2-0 for Santos minutes later in the 13th minute with a rocket into the roof of the net from the right flank. Santos then took their foot off the accelerator until Tachira's Gerson Chacon scored from a sublime free kick in the 69th minute to suddenly make matters more complicated by making the score 2-1, one goal away from a 2-2 draw that would fail to guarantee Santos a berth in the next round. But three minutes later, Neymar illustrated once again why he is one of the best strikers in the world by dribbling through a posse of defenders and crossing to Ze Eduardo, who in turn passed to Danilo. Danilo kept his composure in front of goal and hit the bottom right corner of the net to give the Brazilian team a 3-1 lead.

Santos have now notched three consecutive Copa Libertadores victories against Colo Colo, Cerro Porteno and Deportivo Tachira. They finished second place in Group 5 behind Cerro Porteno, who defeated Colo Colo 3-2. Santos and Cerro Porteno earned a total of 11 points while Colo Colo ended up on 9. Santos are now bursting with talent given the likes of Danilo, Leo, Elano, Ganso, Neymar, Danilo and Ze Eduardo all finding their form at the same time. That said, they may face stiff competition from defending champions Internacional and the in form striker Leandro Damiao, who scored yet again for his club in today's 2-0 victory over the Ecuadorian side Emelec.

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