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Liga de Quito made history after lifting the Copa Libertadores trophy for the first time in sensational style, after defeating Fluminense 3-1 on penalties at a Maracana stadium that was packed with over 90,000 fans. The Brazilians won the match 3-1, but the tie went to extra-time, then to the shoot-out, after Liga's 4-2 win in Quito last week...

FIRST HALF

Fluminense started strongly and piled heavy pressure on their opponents looking to get an early goal that would push them closer towards their objective.

However, from the run of play Liga de Quito went ahead in the 5th minute, when Luis Bolanos beat Fernando Henrique with a well placed shot, to the delight of the traveling Liga fans.

The goal seemed to affect Fluminense, but they continued to attack their opponents, although with limited success.

This was until the 11th minute when gifted midfielder Thiago Neves drew them level with a well-placed long-range drive.

Renato Gaucho's side were on-top by this stage, and they piled heavy pressure on the Ecuadoreans, who absorbed everything that was thrown at them, and looked to break on swift counterattacks.

But in the 27th minute Flu's pressure paid off, when Thiago Neves added his second of the night when he slotted in an inch-perfect Cicero cross from the left wing.

Minutes later the Brazilians should have been awarded a penalty kick when Washington was clearly brought down in the box when he had the goal at his mercy, however, Argentine referee Hector Baldassi waved play-on.

For the remainder of the first half Fluminense dominated possession, and created enough opportunities to go into the break with a greater advantage.

SECOND HALF

After the break Fluminense continued to dominate their opponents, and they went further ahead in the 57th minute when Thiago Neves completed his hattrick when he fired in a free-kick.

Liga came more into the match with a change of tactics from Edgardo Bauza, and the Ecuadorean champions had their opportunities to pull a goal back, including an effort that came off the post.

However, after those incidents Fluminense pushed forward looking for another goal that would win them the title in normal time.

The last fifteen minutes of the match were played with an electrifying intensity, as both teams pushed forward looking for a goal that would win them the title.

Fluminense looked the more dangerous of the two teams, and created several opportunities to snatch a late victory, and the title, but they were kept out by a well disciplined Liga defense that stood extremely firm.

EXTRA-TIME

Both teams commenced extra-time with lots of nerves. Fluminense dominated much of the ball, while Liga looked to the long ball as a possible way to score a winning goal.

The best chance of the first half fell to substitute Dodo, but he blasted the ball over the cross-bar when given space outside of the area.

In the second period it was much of the same, although both teams looked much more tired, and seemed to be happy to settle for a penalty shoot-out.

But, with four minutes left on the clock Claudio Bieler found the back of the net with a superb header, but his legitimate effort was disallowed for offside.

Seconds later Fluminense could have snatch the win, but Thiago Neves saw his powerful effort well saved by Jose Cevallos.

In the final minute of the game Guerron was put through on goal, but Flu captain Luiz Alberto brought him down, reducing his team to ten men in the process.

The corresponding free-kick went straight into the wall, and Baldassi finally put an end to an absolutely breathtaking match.

PENALTY SHOOT-OUT

Jose Cevallos was the hero of the night in the penalty shootout. He made three saves to give Liga de Quito their first Copa Libertadores title in their history. Liga also made history by becoming the first Ecuadorean club to ever lift the prestigious title.

Liga's goals in the shoot-out were converted by Patricio Urrutia, Franklin Salas and Joffre Guerron. While Cicero scored for the Brazilians.

Team Line-ups

Fluminense: Fernando Henrique, Thiago Silva, Luiz Alberto, Junior Cesar, Gabriel (Mauricio), Arouca (Roger), Ygor (Dodo), Cicero, Dario Conca, Thiago Neves and Washington. Coach: Renato Gaucho.

Liga de Quito: Jose Cevallos, Paul Ambrosi, Renan Calle, Jairo Campos, Norberto Araujo, Damian Manso (William Araujo), Joffre Guerron, Patricio Urrutia, Enrique Vera, Luis Bolanos (Franklin Salas) and Claudio Bieler. Coach: Eduardo Bauza.

Goals:

Fluminense: Thiago Neves (11', 27', 56').

Liga de Quito: Luis Bolanos (5').

Penalty Shoot-out:

Fluminense: Cicero.

Liga de Quito: Patricio Urrutia, Joffre Guerron, Franklin Salas.

Yellow Cards:

Fluminense: Luiz Alberto (65'), Cicero (86'), Thiago Silva (106').

Liga de Quito: Claudio Bieler (31'), Enrique Vera (62'), Jose Cevallos (118'), Joffre Guerron (91').

Red Cards:

Luiz Alberto (119').

Referee:

Hector Baldassi (Argentina).

Venue:

Maracana stadium, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Att: 95,000.

Gregory Sica  

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