The gloves come off on Saturday when rivals Palmeiras and Santos contest the 2020 Copa Libertadores final at the Maracaña in Rio de Janeiro.
In the 61st edition of South America’s greatest club competition, this will be just the third time two Brazilian teams meet in the final, made all the more special by the fact both outfits hail from Sao Paulo. Only 50 miles or so separate the pair, who produced a 2-2 extravaganza the last time they met in December:
What TV Channel is Palmeiras-Santos on?
The long-awaited final of South America’s most prestigious competition will be broadcast live on beIN Sports, with one of two Brazilian former champions set to reclaim their throne. You can live stream Copa Libertadores matches on fuboTV.
How to Watch Palmeiras vs. Santos
When: Saturday, January 30
Where: Maracaña, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Time: 2:50 p.m. ET
TV: beIN Sports
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free)
For the second year running, the Copa Libertadores decider will be played over a single leg, with the crown certain to stay in Brazil after Flamengo beat River Plate to last year’s prize. Seven years have passed since the country conquered this competition in four straight seasons (2010-2013), with three-time champions Santos last lifting the Copa in 2011.
The Peixe (Fish) can become the first Brazilian club to win the tournament four times in what will be their fifth final appearance. It’s been a much longer wait for four-time finalists Palmeiras, meanwhile, whose only Libertadores title came back in 1999.
Santos’ legendary figures have a fabled record in the Copa Libertadores, with Pele, Robinho and Neymar leading three separate generations of the club to the final in past decades. Pele helped the club win two of the tournament’s early editions (1962-63), while Neymar lifted the trophy in 2011 and Robinho was a part of the side that finished as runners-up to Boca Juniors in 2003.
In-keeping with their tradition of having at least one academy graduate prominent among the first team, 19-year-old Kaio Jorge is Santos’ top scorer in the Copa this season with five goals.
However, Cuca’s side have come to thrive thanks to their blend of young prospects and more experienced stars, with 30-year-old winger Marinho falling in the latter category:
The Verdão (Big Green) have assembled their own potent mixture between the age groups, with past Brazil internationals like Felipe Melo, Lucas Lima and Luiz Adriano helping to lead their charge.
Former AC Milan and Shakhtar Donetsk striker Adriano is one of two Palmeiras players with a joint-high of five Copa goals for the club this season. But it’s the other to reach that figure, Rony, who has racked up an assist count that’s made him the more essential figure in their attack:
Both finalists have surrendered form since sealing their spots in Saturday’s decider. Santos have won only one of their four league outings since beating Boca Juniors 3-0 over two legs, while Palmeiras have claimed one victory from five after they advanced past another Argentinian giant, River Plate, in their own semi-final (3-2 on aggregate):
Continental conquest lies at stake for one of the two teams from Sao Paulo, with the competition poised to reach its conclusion more than one year after it began.
The Maracaña won’t produce its usual levels of excitement with only a few thousand fans permitted, but the prize at stake will be no less significant for South America’s latest champion.