Independiente 0 Santos 0: Dogged defending preserves deadlock

Santos survived going down to 10 men late in their Copa Libertadores match away to Independiente on Tuesday, the Brazilian side preserving a 0-0 aggregate deadlock ahead of the second leg.

The hosts controlled proceedings and enjoyed the bulk of the chances in the first leg of the round-of-16 tie at Estadio Libertadores de America in Buenos Aires. 

Vanderlei, though, proved a key figure for Santos, denying Independiente on several occasions and receiving some rough treatment in the process, the goalkeeper twice requiring medical attention, as he was left bleeding from a kick to the knee.

The visitors had to do it the hard way during the closing exchanges, defender Dodo having committed a second bookable offence to earn a red card from referee Diego Haro. 

But the three-time winners of the competition may now fancy their chances of progressing from the return fixture in Sao Paolo next week to reach the last eight. 

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Independiente had the better of a tight first half, Emanuel Gigliotti heading wide unmarked from Maximiliano Meza's corner in the 16th minute.

Four minutes later, a Meza strike from outside the area drew a good save from the outstretched Vanderlei.

As the half-hour mark approached, Santos enjoyed what was to prove a rare foray forward, Rodrygo breaking into the area down the right but taking one touch too many and shooting wide of the near post from a tight angle.

With five minutes remaining in the half, Guillermo Burdisso fired another warning shot narrowly wide of Vanderlei's far post.

The pattern continued after the break, as Independiente controlled possession but struggled to break down Santos, who failed to mount a threat at the opposite end of the field.

Gigliotti wasted the best chance of the match in the 70th minute, the striker hooking a half-volley over the bar from close range. 

Vanderlei saved Burdisso's powerful downward header from a corner in the 77th minute, the goalkeeper winning a free-kick and receiving treatment after being fouled in the goalmouth scramble that followed his initial parry.

Santos went down to 10 men in the 82nd minute, Dodo receiving a second yellow card for a foul on Pablo Hernandez, but the Brazilian side were able to hold out and preserve parity going into the second leg. 

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