SI.com , Thursday, June 25, 2009 2:30 PM
Cruzeiro took an important step toward reaching the Copa Libertadores final with a 3-1 win over fellow Brazilian club Gremio on Wednesday. Cruzeiro had won all its previous home matches in
Libertadores play, but lined up against Gremio without the midfield inspiration of Ramires
, who was on international duty for Brazil in the Confederations Cup.
home steam played a confident first half and took the lead in the 38th minute when Kleber
crossed from the right for Wellington Paulista
to beat his marker and score.
Cruzeiro extended the lead barely 90 seconds into the second half when Wagner
's deflected shot beat Gremio goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe. Fabinho
then headed Cruzeiro
into a three-goal lead in the 67th minute. Gremio, however, earned a crucial away goal when Souza scored a free kick in the 79th minute.
Nacional of Uruguay and Estudiantes of
Argentina will dispute the other semifinal at Montevideo on Thursday. The return legs will be played Wednesday and Thursday next week.
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