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Estudiantes advances to final

ESTUDIANTES of Argentina advanced to the Copa Libertadores final after Mauro Boselli's two goals on Wednesday earned a 3-1 aggregate win over Nacional of Uruguay in the semifinals.

Boselli scored in the 53rd minute and in stoppage time, either side of Alex Medina's 76th minute goal for the hosts, as Estudiantes won the away leg 2-1 in Montevideo after a 1-0 win in Argentina last week.

Estudiantes won the Copa Libertadores three times running in 1968, 1969 and 1970, but hasn't reached the final since losing the 1971 championship match to Nacional.

In the other semifinal, Gremio was to host Cruzeiro in an all-Brazilian encounter late yesterday. Cruzeiro takes a 3-1 lead into the match after last week's first leg.

Estudiantes had a setback before kick off against Nacional as inspirational captain Juan Sebastian Veron was ruled out with a calf injury he sustained in the first leg.

Despite the electric atmosphere in the 70,000-plus Centenario stadium, Nacional made a cagey start and Estudiantes was first to threaten.

Boselli almost reached a through ball from Gaston Fernandez in the 12th minute, but Nacional goalkeeper Rodrigo Munoz raced from his goal to clear.

Nacional improved as the first half progressed but failed to create clear chances despite pinning the visitors back.

Estudiantes had a chance to go ahead approaching the break when Enzo Perez burst into the box from the right wing in the 43rd minute, but his low cross was easily collected by Munoz.

Both teams struggled with the uneven pitch, but Estudiantes struck the crucial opening goal eight minutes into the second half.

Fernandez dispossessed defender Sebastian Coates on the edge of the box and passed to Boselli, who lifted the ball past Munoz for his sixth goal of the tournament.

That away goal left Nacional needing a three-goal comeback against the well-drilled Estudiantes defense.

Medina gave the Uruguayan club hope, holding off Rolando Schiavi to score - ending Estudiantes' goalkeeper Mariano Andujar's run of just over 800 minutes without conceding a goal in the Libertadores.

As Nacional poured forward, Estudiantes sealed the win in added time with a second strike by Boselli, who was part of the Boca Juniors team that won the Libertadores in 2007.


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