Blaise Bourgeois

📝 Boca Juniors 2-0 Cruzeiro: Zárate powers Boca to first-leg win

Cruzeiro’s Copa Libertadores run is in jeopardy following Boca Juniors’ 2-0 triumph in La Bombonera.

Mauro Zárate put Boca ahead just before half-time, while Pablo Pérez doubled the Xeneizes advantage shortly after Cruzeiro’s Dedé was unjustly sent off despite the use of VAR.

A lifeless first half looked as if it would end scoreless until Boca made the breakthrough in the 36th minute.

Boca’s corner seemed as if it came to nothing until Pablo Pérez pinged a clever pass back into the box for Mauro Zárate to poke home.

Just after the break, Zárate nearly doubled Boca’s advantage with a blistering shot from outside the box. His effort, however, smashed off the post.

In the 75th minute, Dedé and Boca goalkeeper Esteban Andrada clashed heads that left both parties dazed. However, the referee decided to take a look at the challenge with VAR and shockingly sent off the centre-back.

Dedé hadn’t been sent off in 135 matches, dating back to 2010.

Eight minutes from time, Pablo Pérez doubled Boca’s lead. Pérez capitalised on a poor defensive clearance to lash the ball home and give the Argentinians a huge first-leg advantage.

The two sides will meet up in Belo Horizonte for the second leg on 9 October.