Neymar goal spurs Santos to Recopa title
SAO PAULO -- Neymar scored in the first half and Santos of Brazil beat Universidad de Chile 2-0 on Wednesday to win its first Recopa Sudamericana title.
The teams played to a 0-0 draw in the first leg in Chile. The Recopa is played between the champions of the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana.
Neymar scored from the top of the area after a one-two with striker Andre, who set up his teammate's firm low show into the left corner.
Santos, the 2011 Copa Libertadores champion, scored its second with a header by defender Bruno Rodrigo in the 56th after a free kick cross by playmaker Felipe Anderson.
"It's another title for us," Neymar said. "I'm extremely happy. A lot of people downplayed this competition but we took it very seriously, it was a trophy we had never won."
Neymar had a chance to score another goal 2 minutes into first-half injury time, but he missed a penalty kick after being fouled by defender Jose Rojas inside the Universidad de Chile area. Neymar's weak mid-height shot into the right corner was saved by goalkeeper Jhonny Herrera. The Brazil striker had already missed a penalty in the first leg in Chile.
Santos controlled possession at the Pacaembu stadium but Universidad de Chile threatened when it got near the Santos area. It put pressure on Santos in the second half to try to get the equalizers, while Santos relied on counterattacks led by the 20-year-old Neymar, who has won his eighth title as a professional.
The Chileans loudly complained of a hand ball by Santos defender Leo inside the area after a header by substitute striker Francisco Castro in the 53rd, when the game was 1-0. One of Universidad de Chile's best chances came when Castro received a pass just in front of the net in the 59th, but failed to get a shot off.
"We deserved it, we played well the entire match," Santos goalkeeper Rafael said. "We fought hard to get here, following the Copa Libertadores title that we won last year."
Universidad de Chile, the Copa Sudamericana winner last year, was trying to win its first Recopa title -- and second international trophy.
Santos, celebrating its centennial, has won at least two titles in the last three years. It won three straight Sao Paulo state championships, as well as the 2010 Brazilian Cup, the 2011 Copa Libertadores and now this year's Recopa. Santos won its third Copa Libertadores in 2011, the first since the Pele era.
Santos played without promising playmaker Paulo Henrique Ganso, who last week signed with rival Brazilian club Sao Paulo.
Universidad de Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli again was able to count on striker Sebastian Ubilla, who had been sidelined recently because of injury.
The Recopa began being played in 1989, but it was put on hold from 1998 until 2003. Last year's champion was Brazilian club Internacional. Corinthians, the winner of this year's Copa Libertadores, will play next year's Recopa final against the champion of the 2012 Copa Sudamericana, which will end later this year.
Brazilian clubs have won seven Recopa titles, one more than Argentina teams.
Santos: Rafael, Bruno Peres (Ewerton, 71), Bruno Rodrigo, Durval, Leo (Gerson Magrao, 54), Adriano, Arouca, Felipe Anderson, Patricio Rodriguez (Ezequiel Miralles, 85), Neymar, Andre.
Universidad de Chile: Jhonny Herrera, Albert Acevedo (Paulo Magalhaes, 73), Osvaldo Gonzalez, Jose Rojas, Sebastian Martinez, Eugenio Mena, Matias Rodriguez (Francisco Castro, 46), Charles Aranguiz (Guillermo Marino, 46), Gustavo Lorenzetti, Enzo Gutierrez, Sebastian Ubilla.