CONMEBOL: Independiente claim maiden Sudamericana on penalties (+video)
In a dramatic second leg of the Copa Sudamericana final Argentinian club Independiente got their hands on the coveted trophy, and a precious berth in the 2011 Copa Libertadores, following a penalty shoot-out win after the game had finished 3-3 on aggregate.
With no away goals rule in the final of this competition Independiente knew that they had to win by at least two clear goals if they were to have any chance of lifting the Copa Sudamericana for the first time. Brazilian side Goiás had a 2-0 lead from the first leg, which was played last Wednesday in Brazil, and they were hoping to lift their first major honour which would’ve been some achievement for a club who were relegated from the Brazilian top flight just a couple of weeks ago.
The game started off in breathtaking fashion as both teams made their attacking intentions known from the start. Independiente struck first after 19 minutes thanks to Julián Velázquez but it didn’t take long for the visitors to restore parity on the night when Rafael Moura, a hero from the first leg, struck to make it 1-1 on the night and 3-1 on aggregate. It was back to square one for los Diablos Rojos who had to claw back a two goal deficit all over again and they made a good job of it after Facundo Parra’s brace before half-time levelled the tie on aggregate.
With no further scoring in the second half the game went into penalties and both teams traded two successful spot kicks each before the decisive penalties in the shoot-out took place. Independiente’s Leandro Gracián converted his kick before Goiás’ Felipe missed his effort which handed the advantage to the Argentinians. With Carlos Matheu and Eduardo Tuzzio putting away their kicks the hosts began the celebrations as Independiente finally lay claim to some international silverware for the first time since 1995, when they won the now-defunct Supercopa Sudamericana, and also increases the dominance of Argentinian clubs in this competition which they have won on five out of nine occasions.
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