Brazil’s Fluminense beat Argentina’s Boca Juniors 2-1 after extra time to win the Copa Libertadores for the first time in their history on Saturday.
The substitute John Kennedy’s 99th-minute goal at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro decided the feisty final but, after celebrating the goal with the fans, he was shown a second yellow card and sent off.
The Argentinian striker German Cano had given Fluminense the lead with a goal in the 36th minute, but in the second half Luis Advíncula equalised for Jorge Almirón’s side with a shot from outside the box.
The match may prove to be a final appearance for Fluminense’s midfielder André, who has been heavily linked with Liverpool and Arsenal. Before the end of the first half of extra time a brawl broke out between the players, with Boca’s Frank Fabra sent off for slapping the Fluminense captain, Nino.
John Kennedy celebrates after scoring what proved to be the winner for Fluminense. Photograph: Sergio Moraes/Reuters
“I recovered the ball for my son Lorenzo. I can tell him now that I am champion of the Libertadores,” said Cano, whose 13 goals this season in the competition was as many as all those scored by Boca’s players combined. “I want to dedicate this title to my family, the team, our director and the fans. It was a dream that we wanted to achieve since the first game,” Cano added.
Fluminense’s Fernando Diniz, who is also Brazil’s interim coach, finally delivered the elusive trophy – the equivalent to Europe’s Champions League – for a team who lost the 2008 final.
“We had a lot of chances today but in the end we failed to capitalise on the opportunity to take advantage of the extra man,” said the Boca goalkeeper Sergio Romero. “I think we did a great cup [run], we thank the people and we regret not giving them a joy today.”
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Boca were aiming for a seventh Libertadores crown but have now lost their last three finals following defeats in 2012 and 2018.