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Cruzeiro draw with Estudiantes in Copa first leg

  • Story Highlights
  • Estudiantes, Cruzeiro draw in first leg of Copa Libertadores final
  • Match was played in Argentina; second leg will be held in Brazil
  • Brazilian team have dominated recently in South American club football's top prize
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(CNN) -- Visiting Cruzeiro held home side Estudiantes de La Plata to a scoreless draw Wednesday night in a spirited first leg of the Copa Libertadores final in Argentina.

Estudiantes' Juan Sebastian Veron, left, battles for the ball against Cruzeiro's Wagner.

Estudiantes' Juan Sebastian Veron, left, battles for the ball against Cruzeiro's Wagner.

Playing at La Plata, Argentina, both teams missed chances to take the advantage in the first of the two-leg final for South American club football's greatest prize.

Cruzeiro had the game's first scoring opportunity, according to media reports, when a far-post header by Leonardo Silva -- received from a corner -- was wide of the goal.

Estudiantes' first real chance of the game came in the 12th minute, according to Goal.com. Juan Sebastian Veron curled a free kick from 20 yards out. Cruzeiro's Fabio dived to tip it away, according to Goal.com.

The Copa final this year marks the first time for Estudiantes to reach the championship round in 39 years. The small club won the Copa Libertadores for three consecutive years,1968-1970.

This year also marks the 50th birthday of the Copa Libertadores, South American football's equivalent of Europe's Champions League.

The Libertadores is the most prestigious tournament in South American club football, seeing the best 32 teams in the continent battle for supremacy.

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For years it was dominated by Argentina, with a team from the country making it to every final between 1963 to 1979, and Buenos Aires team Independiente winning six times in that period.

Since the early 1990s, it's been the Brazilian clubs that have excelled. Brazil has provided 10 Libertadores finalists in the last 10 years, but since the tournament's inception, every country except Peru and Mexico has supplied a winner.

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