GOOD EVENING FROM RIO
Welcome to our live coverage of the Copa Libertadores Final between Sao Paulo rivals Palmeiras and Santos at the Maracana Stadium.
The Verdao, who eliminated River Plate in the semi-finals, will be missing both Wesley and Jean, who are nursing a meniscal and knee injury respectively, but otherwise manager Abel Ferreira has a largely fit squad at his disposal for the all-Brazilian clash.
But the Peixe, who knocked out Boca Juniors in the final four, are marred by injury as manager Cuca will be without Jobson, Carlos Sanchez, Raniel and Rafael Longuine.
Palmeiras appear to be the slight favourites to win South America’s most prestigious trophy but the Portuguese boss refuses to underestimate tonight’s opponents.
Ferreira said: “Each game has a story, I will do what I have always done. Prepare well the players, be attentive to the details. I will not do what I do not know, I will follow the same rituals, believe in those who have to believe. The opponent deserves respect, did a great job along the way.”
Cuca has a long history with the rival club as he used to play and coach for Palmeiras but insists that his past will be in the rear-view mirror once the whistle blows as he is fully focused on Santos.
The Brazilian boss said: “I have many friends at Palmeiras. People like me and I like people, but today we are opponents. And, whatever I can do, I will do for Santos. I will do my best and make the most of each one in order to win.”