Liga beats Fluminense on PK's to win Copa Lib

BY foxsports • January 15, 2009

Goalkeeper Jose Francisco Cevallos saved three penalties and Liga de Quito defeated Fluminense 3-1 in a shootout to become the first Ecuadorean club to win the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday.

Liga clinched the title of Latin America's most important club competition despite a 3-1 loss in regulation, which tied the aggregate score at 5-5. It had won the first leg 4-2 last week in Quito and could have lifted the trophy with a draw or even a one-goal loss at Maracana stadium. The teams drew 0-0 in extra time.

Copa Lib 2nd Leg Final

    Cevallos stopped shots from Argentine midfielder Dario Conca, playmaker Thiago Neves and striker Washington.

    "This was my last opportunity, I'm 27 years old, I knew this was my last opportunity," Cevallos said. "We know we achieved something historic in international football."

    Patricio Urrutia, Franklin Salas and Joffre Guerron netted for Liga, while Cicero claimed Fluminense's lone goal. Jairo Campos missed the only penalty for the Ecuadoreans.

    "It's hard to explain this loss," Fluminense coach Renato Gaucho said. "We had our best players in the shootout, but unfortunately it was not a good night for them."

    With the victory, Liga also earns a spot in FIFA's Club World Cup held later this year.

    "This is an incredible victory for us," Liga de Quito coach Edgardo Bauza said. "A historic title for Liga and Ecuador. It means a lot to us."

    Fluminense was boosted by nearly 80,000 fans in the first Copa Libertadores final at Maracana, but the 2,000 or so Liga fans celebrated first after an early goal that put the Brazilian club in an even deeper hole.

    Striker Luis Bolanos opened the scoring just six minutes into the match with a right-footed shot from near the penalty spot. Forward Guerron started the play on the right flank, dribbling past a defender and sending a low cross across the area to the unmarked Bolanos.

    Fluminense quickly equalized when Neves cleared a defender before firing a left-footer from about 25 meters (yards) in the 11th minute. His well-placed shot found the lower-right corner to beat Cevallos.

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