Buenos Aires: The violence and misconduct that has often blighted the Libertadores Cup has reared its ugly head the week before the start of South America`s top club competition.
Three players were sent off in Wednesday`s playoff between Argentine sides Boca Juniors and Velez Sarsfield on neutral ground in the seaside resort of Mar del Plata.
Boca, six times South American champions, won 1-0 with a brilliant long range effort in the 34th minute from left back Nicolas Colazo to secure a place in the group phase which begins in mid-February.
The first player shown a straight red card was Boca midfielder Andres Chavez for hitting an opponent in the 81st minute.
Velez than had experienced campaigner Leandro Somoza and youngster Fausto Grillo dismissed for second bookable offences in the final five minutes. "(Qualifying) is important for the club economically. It brings in money and also gives you prestige, for the players, for everyone," Boca coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena told reporters.
The Libertadores kicks off next week with a preliminary round of six ties to be played over two legs.