Corinthians coach ecstatic reaching Libertadores final
Rio de Janeiro: More than half-an-hour after his club sealed a berth in the Copa Libertadores final for the first time in its history, Corinthians coach Tite was still in a state of euphoria.
"I still can`t believe it," Tite was quoted as telling the media after his team`s 2-1 aggregate victory over Brazilian rival Santos last Wednesday.
"What we have achieved might sink in when I read the media reports tomorrow. Now I`m going to celebrate with a gigantic caipirinha (Brazilian cocktail)," he said.
Tite`s jubilation was shared by the club`s estimated 29 million fans across Brazil, and represents what this tournament has come to mean for the Sao Paulo outfit.
In its 102-year history, Corinthians has won the Sao Paulo state championship for a record 26 times and won the Brazilian Serie A championship, which began in 1959, on five occasions. The club has also won the Copa do Brasil three times.
The glaring omission from the honour roll is South America`s most prized club tournament.
Having made the semi-finals on two previous occasions, the club known affectionately by its supporters as "O Timao" - The Big Team - will Wednesday play in its first Copa Libertadores final.
Its opponent is the legendary Argentine club Boca Juniors, aiming to win the tournament for a seventh time. The feat would equal the record held by Argentinian rival Independiente.
Wednesday`s first leg at the Bombonera stadium in Buenos Aires will be followed seven days later by the return match at Corinthians` Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo.