(Reuters) - River Plate, a goal down from the first leg of their Libertadores Cup quarter-final, stunned Cruzeiro 3-0 at the Mineirao in Belo Horizonte to reach the last four 3-1 on aggregate on Wednesday.
River will meet fellow Argentine side Racing Club or Guarani, who meet in Buenos Aires on Thursday with the Paraguayans a goal up, in the semi-finals which will be played in July after a break for the Copa America.
The other semi-final will be between Brazil’s Internacional, who beat Independiente Santa Fe of Colombia 2-0 at home and 2-1 on aggregate, and Mexico’s UANL Tigres, 2-1 aggregate winners over Emelec of Ecuador on Tuesday.
Right winger Carlos Sanchez put River in front after 20 minutes when he took a fine pass from striker Teo Gutierrez on the left and fired a low shot past goalkeeper Fabio.
Central defender Jonatan Maidana increased River’s lead on the stroke of halftime with a fine looping header from a corner.
Colombia’s Gutierrez, South America’s 2014 footballer of the year, scored a brilliant third seven minutes into the second half, beating two defenders on the left and placing his shot out of Fabio’s reach into the bottom far corner.
Cruzeiro, who beat River in the 1976 final and had never lost to them before in international competition, had substitute Gabriel Xavier sent off three minutes from time for bringing down goal-bound striker Rodrigo Mora.
Uruguayan Mora, voted man of the match after nearly missing the game with a knee problem, said: ”The squad backed me during the week while I worked separately and I was able to give my all for this team.
“We tried to play our best football and we had been lacking goals but we made it,” he told Fox Sports.
Internacional scored two minutes from either end of their second leg match at the Beira-Rio in Porto Alegre, both goals coming from Andres D‘Alessandro corners with Juan tapping in the first and substitute Rafael Moura heading home the decider in the 88th.
Peruvian referee Victor Hugo Carrillo sent off two Santa Fe defenders, both after prior bookings, Dayron Mosquera in the 67th minute and Jose Anchico in the 82nd.
Editing by Greg Stutchbury/Amlan Chakraborty