Cruzeiro beat River, eye Libertadores last four

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Buenos Aires, May 22 (IANS) Marquinhos struck late as Brazilian football club Cruzeiro took a giant step towards the Copa Libertadores semifinals with a 1-0 victory over River Plate.

The quarterfinal first leg at River’s Monumental Stadium here on Thursday appeared to be drifting towards a goalless draw before Marquinhos sent the home fans into stunned silence, reports Xinhua.

The breakthrough came with eight minutes left when Giorgian de Arrascaeta’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Marcelo Barovero, who then went to ground in a tangle of legs. The rebound fell to Marquinhos, who gleefully prodded the ball into an unguarded net.

The result means the current Brazilian Serie A champions need only to draw Wednesday’s return leg in Belo Horizonte to secure a place in the last four of South American football’s top club competition.

In Thursday’s other quarterfinal first leg, Paraguay’s Guarani defeated Racing of Argentina 1-0. Julian Benitez broke the visitors’ resistance by scoring with a long-range effort five minutes from time.

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