Brazil’s Gremio wins Copa Libertadores for the 3rd time
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Brazil’s Gremio won the prestigious Copa Libertadores for the third time in its history with a 2-1 victory at Argentina’s Lanus on Wednesday night.
After a 1-0 victory in Porto Alegre last week, Gremio secured the South American crown with goals by midfielders Fernandinho at 28 minutes and Luan at 45.
Lanus’ Jose Sand scored from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute.
The Brazilians also lifted the continental trophy in 1983 and 1995. Lanus, a club from Buenos Aires suburbs, was playing its first final in the tournament’s history.
Gremio’s culture is more of Uruguayan will power than Brazilian flair, but this year it has been a goal machine under coach Renato Portaluppi.
The team has 116 goals this year and hopes to extend that run into the FIFA Club World Cup in December in Abu Dhabi.
As South American champions, Gremio will start that tournament in the semifinal, hoping for a likely final against UEFA Champions League winner Real Madrid.
The Brazilians showed their goal scoring credentials in Buenos Aires after a mistake by the Lanus defense.
Fernandinho stole the ball in Gremio’s half, ran freely toward Andrada’s goal and hammered it home from the edge of the box.
In the end of the first half, Gremio doubled its lead when Luan scored one of the best goals of the tournament. He dribbled through two Lanus defenders and lobbied the ball gently into the net.
The Brazilian was later chosen the best player in the tournament.
“We are going to end the world in the celebrations,” said Luan, who scored eight goals in the Copa Libertadores and is a frequent name in Brazil’s national team.
Defender and captain Pedro Geromel lifted the trophy for the Brazilians.
Coach Portaluppi, who is universally known as Renato Gaucho, was also a star of the Southern Brazilian team in its first South American title. He is now the first Brazilian to win the South American crown both as player and coach.
“I have no words to describe this, we deserved it so much,” a tearful Portaluppi said.
Tens of thousands of fans took to the streets of Porto Alegre in the celebrations.
Despite their defeat, Lanus fans applauded the modest team while Gremio players celebrated.