On the night of last Wednesday (30) the first semifinal of the Libertadores was defined. Palmeiras only drew with Deportivo Pereira and secured its spot among the top four in South America. Boca Juniors, on the other hand, had to rely on the brilliance of goalkeeper Sergio Romero on penalties to advance. Now, Brazilians and Argentines meet again after five years of the last confrontation, which did not end well for Alviverde, a fact that causes fear in fans that year.
At the time, it was precisely in the semifinals of the 2018 Libertadores and with the same field command order. First, at Bombonera, Boca beat the club from São Paulo with two goals from Darío Benedetto. At Allianz Parque, the Argentine striker scored once more and the match ended 2 x 2. The decision was the Argentine derby with River Plate, which ended as champions at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Palmeirense fans have not forgotten what Benedetto did on those two nights in the Libertadores and, in addition to fearing a new great performance by the striker, they want revenge for the elimination. The Xeneize attack still has another possible great story against Palmeiras: the Uruguayan Miguel Merentiel, who belongs to the São Paulo team, but is on loan to Boca. He will be able to play, as there is no impediment in the contract between the clubs.
You forgot the worst, benedetto
— Luizzz (@LDiferentx) August 31, 2023
Come easy Benedetto https://t.co/CvfV2JNMqt
— Léozin (@Leoolagoss) August 31, 2023
I don’t know what’s worse: having Merentiel giving blood against us or him not playing and having Benedetto with one leg putting the defense to suck
— Felipe (@felipedngl) August 31, 2023
it can come from boca jrs but it comes without cavani and benedetto https://t.co/hyBpSkgCS8
— leo (@leozerave) August 31, 2023
benedetto is my cinematic trauma https://t.co/sdfX2reWDT
— moon ⓟ (@butdesire) August 31, 2023
Boca fans are confident in Benedetto
The reunion with Palmeiras brought optimism to the Xeneize fans. Despite not being one of the best Bocas in recent years, the Argentines are confident that Benedetto will have another great night and qualify for the Libertadores final.
I can’t imagine the match that Benedetto is going to send against Palmeiras! It is written that Boca passes a la final!
— RuBenitez (@RuBenitez2) August 31, 2023
—jere (@literalcrackzah) August 31, 2023
Palmeiras is seen in Libertadores semis pic.twitter.com/AwJePJPExi
— roman (@RIQUELMEARDO) August 31, 2023
To shine against Palmeiras, Benedetto needs to overcome a bad phase
In recent weeks, Dário Benedetto lost his starting status in Jorge Almiron’s team. The Argentine striker saw Merentiel start in the round of 16 against Nacional, from Uruguay, and in both matches against Racing. Coming off the bench, the Palmeiras executioner added just 30 minutes in these four decisive Libertadores games.
To make matters worse, when he had the opportunity for the Argentine League Cup, last Sunday (27), he wasted a penalty in the 1-0 defeat against Sarmiento.
This season, the striker has scored seven goals and two assists in 26 games and has failed to help Boca win the Argentine Championship, a competition in which the club finished just seventh out of 28 teams.
When do Palmeiras and Boca play?
Conmebol will still define the dates and time, but it is likely that Palmeiras and Boca Juniors will play the first leg on September 27, a Wednesday, at 9:30 pm (Brasília time), at Bombonera, due to the choice of transmission on open TV. The return, at Allianz Parque, should take place at the same time on October 4, again on Wednesday.
On the other side of the bracket, Internacional is the guaranteed semifinalist and will meet its opponent on Thursday night (31). With an advantage of two goals, Fluminense visits Olimpia at the Defensores del Chaco stadium, in Asunción, Paraguay, and could lose by up to one goal to advance.
In addition to the 2018 elimination, Boca has a history of respect against Palmeiras. The Argentine team won the 2000 Libertadores over Alviverde and even went through the São Paulo club again the following year, this time in the semifinal.
In their favour, Palmeiras has been eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 1998 Mercosur Cup. In the overall history there are 13 matches, with three wins by the Brazilians, two by Boca and seven draws.
Palmeiras next games
- Corinthians x Palmeiras, Brasileirão Série A, Neo Química Arena, São Paulo-SP – September 3 (Sunday), at 4 pm (Brasília time);
- Palmeiras x Goiás, Brasileirão Série A, Allianz Parque, São Paulo-SP – September 15 (Friday), at 21:30 (Brasília time);
- Grêmio x Palmeiras, Brasileirão Série A, Arena do Grêmio, Porto Alegre-RS – September 21 (Thursday), at 21:30 (Brasília time).
Boca Juniors next games
- Boca Juniors x Tigres, Argentina League Cup, Bombonera, Buenos Aires-ARG – September 3 (Sunday), at 6:30 pm (Brasília time);
- Boca Juniors x Defensa y Justicia, Argentine League Cup, Bombonera, Buenos Aires-ARG – September 10 (Sunday), at 4 pm (Brasília time);
- Central Córdoba x Boca Juniors, Argentine League Cup, Estadio Alfredo Terrera, Santiago del Estero-ARG – September 17 (Sunday), at 4 pm (Brasília time).