Thursday, 9 December 2010

Copa Sudamericana Final 2nd Leg

Independiente 3-1 Goiás (after extra time)
Independiente wins 5-4 on penalties

Independiente claimed a place in the 2011 Copa Libertadores after a dramatic fightback in the second leg of the Copa Sudamericana final saw them lift the crown on penalties at the Estadio Libertadores de América.

The Goiás side were probably tired after Independiente fans had an all night vigil at their Buenos Aires hotel in an attempt to give the Brazilian players sleep deprivation. Julián Velázquez put the home side ahead after nineteen minutes when he was first to react after a great save from Harlei in the Goiás goal. After the celebrations had died down, Goiás were level on the night when Rafael Moura headed home a Wellington Saci cross past a despairing Hilario Navarro to level on the night and restore the two goal advantage.

By half time though the tie was level, three minutes after Goiás got their two goal cushion back they were undone by a mistake from defender Ernando. His attempted clearance was blocked by Facundo Parra and the ball looped above Harlei and into the goal. Seven minutes the tie was all square when Rodríguez swung a cross into the box and after Parra and Marcão challenged for the ball, it looped up in the air and the stiker thrust a boot out and beat Harlei.

After the drama and excitement of the first half, the second half was a complete contrast with chances few and far between. With none of the Goiás players featuring at the weekend they pressed for the winner but they couldn't get a goal within the 90 minutes. With away goals not counting, the tie went to extra time and again it was the visitors who pressed. Otacilo Neto had a goal ruled out for offside, Rafael Tolói rattled the woodwork and Marcão was also denied by the assistant referee.

Therefore the final was to be decided from 12 yards, substitute Maxi Velázquez put Independiente ahead before Rafael Tolói levelled. Parra and Éverton Santos were both successful before Gracián put Independiente ahead again. Goiás then suffered a blow when Felipe hit the woodwork to leave them behind the 8 ball. Mattheu then put Independiente two clear in the shoot out before Rafael Moura kept Goiás in the hunt. It then fell to Eduardo Tuzzio and he beat Harlei to give Independiente the crown and that spot in the Libertadores for next year. Also the Argentinians will contest the 2011 Recopa Sudameriacana against Inter and a trip to Japan for the Suruga Bank Championship.

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