Riquelme leads Boca to Libertadores quarterfinals

Sao Paulo, May 16 (IANS) A stunning Juan Roman Riquelme strike sent Boca Juniors into the Copa Libertadores football quarterfinals and eliminated reigning champions Corinthians courtesy a 2-1 aggregate score.

Boca, who won the first leg 1-0 at the Bombonera, took a 2-0 aggregate lead in the 24th minute Wednesday when Riquelme spotted goalkeeper Cassio off his line and struck a fierce 25-metre drive into the top corner, reports Xinhua.

Brazil international midfielder Paulinho equalised with a 50th-minute header after Emerson’s right-wing cross, but the visitors stood firm in a tense final half hour at the Pacaembu.

Riquelme, playing his first match since suffering a thigh injury April 21, praised the performance of his teammates.

“We have beaten the favourites and reigning champions and that’s not something to take lightly,” the former Villarreal and Argentina international playmaker said.

“As a player, a fan and somebody who loves this club, I am very happy.”

The result sets up a quarterfinal clash for Boca against Argentine rivals Newell’s Old Boys, who defeated Velez Sarsfield 2-1.

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