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Copa Libertadores: Battle for quarter final place

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The race is hotting up for a place in the last 8 of South America’s equivalent of the Champions League. With the first group of games being completed.

If you remember last seasons final was marred by riots, attacks on team buses and an eventual final held thousands of mile away from either team home.

The final was between bitter Argentine rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors. With River running out winners over two legs. The second of which was played in Madrid, Spain because of all the troubles.

Thankfully in match reports from beIN, the excitement so far has been confined to the pitch.

River Plate and Palmeiras secured progress to the quarter-finals, but it was not an easy task.

Defending champions River needed penalties to overcome Cruzeiro after the game finished locked at 0-0. The Argentine giants claimed a 4-2 shoot-out victory, moving into a last-eight tie against either San Lorenzo or Cerro Porteno.

It took heroics from River goalkeeper Franco Armani, making saves from the penalties of Henrique and David.

In Sao Paulo, it wasn’t until the second half that Palmeiras decided to get into the game. Running out comfortable winners over Godoy Cruz, progressing 6-2 on aggregate.

It was the Brazilian sides Raphael Veiga who broke the stalemate with a penalty.  Miguel Borja, Gustavo Scarpa, and Dudu rounded off the scoring.

In Paraguay, Olimpia of Paraguay and LDU Quito of Ecuador played out a 1-1 draw. LDU progressing with a 4-2 aggregate win.

But the game was a party to some quite outrageous behaviour. Resulting in two red cards, one to an unused substitute.

The final group of games takes place later. All the games involve tight margins, as nobody has run away with the first legs.

One thing for sure, they are bound to be fiery affairs. With not only a major trophy, but national pride at stake.

MADRID, SPAIN – DECEMBER 09: Exequiel Palacios of River Plate celebrates with the Copa Libertadores Trophy following his sides victory in the second leg of the final match of Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018 between Boca Juniors and River Plate at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on December 9, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. Due to the violent episodes of November 24th at River Plate stadium, CONMEBOL rescheduled the game and moved it out of Americas for the first time in history. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)