River Plate wins Copa Libertadores final in Madrid

ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 10, 2018 07:41 AM
River Plate wins Copa Libertadores final in Madrid
Enzo Perez of Argentina's River Plate celebrates after beating Argentina's Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores final soccer match at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Spain, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Andrea Comas)

By Tales Azzoni and Mauricio Savarese, Associated Press

MADRID (AP) — One of the most anticipated matches in South American soccer finally came to a conclusion in Madrid on Sunday, with River Plate celebrating victory over fierce Argentine rival Boca Juniors in the twice-suspended final of the Copa Libertadores.

Nearly a month after the first leg was played in Argentina, River came from behind to defeat Boca 3-1 in the second leg after extra time to win South America's equivalent of the Champions League 5-3 on aggregate.

It was River's fourth Copa Libertadores title, and first since 2015. Boca Juniors remained on six titles and missed a chance to tie Argentina's Independiente as the competition's most successful club.

After reaching 1-1 after 90 minutes on Sunday, River went ahead when Juan Fernando Quintero scored four minutes into the second half of extra time, and Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez added a third goal in the final minutes of the high-profile "superclasico" at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Dario Benedetto had opened the scoring just before halftime for Boca, and Lucas Pratto equalized for River in the 67th.

Boca had Wilmar Barrios sent off early in extra time and Fernando Gago left the field near the end because of an injury.

The Madrid final capped one of the most embarrassing chapters in South American soccer, which saw its leaders unable to stage the historic match on the continent. The game had to be played in the Spanish capital after it was marred by fan violence in Buenos Aires two weeks ago, when Boca players were injured after River fans attacked the Boca team bus with rocks, bottles and wood.

The first leg at Boca's La Bombonera Stadium in Buenos Aires ended 2-2.

Soccer great Lionel Messi and FIFA President Gianni Infantino were among those at the Bernabeu.

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