Brazil held on despite a brave Argentine comeback to win the 2009 Sudamericano Under 17 on penalties...
Another Brazilian title looked in the bag when they lead Argentina 2-0 with only half an hour of the contest remaining but two late strikes meant the old foes had to be separated by spot-kicks.
Wellington held his nerve to dispatch Brazil’s ninth penalty to give Brazil their ninth Sudamericano Sub 17 title after Lucas Krupsky had ballooned over for Argentina.
It was fitting that Wellington who has been a revelation throughout the tournament should be the one to bring the curtain down on this fabulous fiesta of football on Chile’s northern shore.
Two hours previous to Wellington’s winner Zezinho fired Brazil into the lead within the first five minutes of the contest.
A purposeful dribble from Coutinho was intercepted by the Argentine defence but the ball fell opportunistically onto the left peg of Zezihno. The midfielder hit a snapshot which eluded Damian Martinez as it went in off the post.
There are very few places out of Martinez’s gigantic grasp but he was as powerless to stop Brazil’s second effort as he was their first.
As Argentina poured men forward in an attempt to grab an equalizer they fell prey to a deadly counter attack as Brazil doubled their advantage.
Argentina pumped a free-kick into the box but it was dealt with and left-back Dodo went on a rampaging run the length of the field as Brazil quickly turned defence into attack.
When Dodo reached the Argentine penalty area he was eventually met by the opposition’s hastily retreated defenders. The defender looked up and saw Coutinho arriving in support and promptly cut the ball back to his team’s talisman.
Coutinho wasted no time in bending a right foot shot across Martinez and into the left hand bottom corner of his goal.
Finding themselves 2-0 down Argentina focused their efforts and in the following few minutes both Sebastian Gonzalez and Sergio Araujo went close but still failed to find the target.
Shortly after the hour mark Argentina did get something to show for their efforts when a deep cross had Guilherme in trouble and presented Daniel Villalva with a chance.
Guilherme temporarily redeemed himself with a save at the feet of Villalva but Gonzalez pounced on the rebound and slammed home from ten yards out.
After getting back within touching distance of Brazil, Jose Luis Brown threw caution to the wind and brought on another striker in the form of Eduardo Rotondi.
The Argentinos Juniors forward added another dimension to the his country’s attack and Brazil were being forced into a rearguard action as time ebbed away.
With five minutes on the clock a cleverly worked throw in down the Argentine right presented Esteban Orfano with time to pick out a cross.
Brazil half-cleared the danger but Diego Martinez was afforded a shooting chance from the edge of the box. As the shot cannoned into a crowded penalty area and over the bar Joaquin Antepura of Bolivia adjudged the ball had hit Romario on the arm and gave Argentina a penalty.
Argentine skipper Esteban Espindola levlled matters from the spot and after three minutes of injury time the game went straight to a penalty shootout.
With Argentina missing their first two penalties it looked like the result would soon be decided in Brazil’s favour but a mix of howling misses and top notch keeping kept the contest alive a little longer.
Centre back Krupsky missed the 17th spot-kick of the shoot-out and Lucho Nizzo’s played his trump card by sending up Wellington to take the 18th and decisive penalty.
Brazil will now bask in glory as they head to Nigeria for the World Cup later this year in fine style.
Brown’s Argentina will no doubt spend the time between the two tournaments plotting the downfall of their greatest footballing rival.
Brazil: Luiz Guilherme – Romario (Carlao 88), Gerson, Mauricio, Dodo – Fernando, Joao Pedro, Zezinho – Wellington, Felipinho (Eduardo 68), Coutinho
Goals: Zezinho 3, Coutinho 56
Bookings: Zezinho 30, Gerson 38, Fernando 45, Mauricio 55, Wellington 74, Joao Pedro 90
Argentina: D. Martinez – Krupsky, Espindola, Marin – Tagliafico, Rosales (Rotondi 82), S. Gonzalez (L. Gonzalez 84), Apaza, Orfano – Araujo, Villalva
Goals: Gonzalez 65, Espindola 87
Bookings: Krupsky 2, Tagliafico 44
Tim Sturtridge, Goal.com