Bolivar were lucky an act of violence
by fans against Santos ace Neymar did not get their Libertadores
Cup last-16 first leg in La Paz suspended on Wednesday as they
went on to a record a 2-1 victory.
Neymar was about to take a corner in the 78th minute when he
was hit by an object thrown from the crowd at the packed
Hernando Siles stadium in the Bolivian capital and fell to the
The 20-year-old was soon back up on his feet, but the Fox
Sports television commentator said Chilean referee Enrique Osses
warned Bolivar he would suspend the match if there was a repeat
of the incident.
South American champion Santos once again struggled in the
thin air of La Paz, 3,600 metres above sea level, having lost to
The Strongest at the start of their defence of the title in
However, they recovered to win their group and qualify with
home advantage in the second leg of the first knockout round at
the Vila Belmiro in two weeks' time.
"They don't like playing here," said Bolivian international
Jhasmany Campos, voted man of the match after his part in both
of Bolivar's goals.
"We set out to score at least three goals to be calm for the
return in Brazil, we ran and probed but we couldn't score more,"
he told Fox Sports.
Bolivar stunned Santos by taking the lead after 90 seconds
when midfielder Campos's free-kick came back off the far post,
hit goalkeeper Rafael and went in.
The woodwork also played a part in the Brazilian side's
35th-minute equaliser when goalkeeper Marcos Arguello dived to
save former Brazil midfielder Elano's free-kick but the ball
came back off the post and right-back Maranhao followed up to
ram it home.
The winner in the 75th minute also came from a free-kick,
Campos curling his low shot inside the base of the near post
past Rafael's dive.
Arguello prevented Neymar from snatching a late equaliser
with a diving save to tip his shot over the bar.
In an all-Brazilian match in Porto Alegre, home side
Internacional were held 0-0 by Fluminense from Rio de Janeiro in
the first leg of their tie.
Inter's Argentine forward Jesus Datolo, who has been in fine
scoring form in the Gaucho (Rio Grande do Sul state)
championship in southern Brazil had a 57th minute penalty saved
by Flu's Diego Cavalieri.
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