Palmeiras clinch second consecutive Copa Libertadores – Sports Africa

Palmeiras successfully defended their Copa Libertadores title on Saturday after an extra-time goal from substitute Deyverson gave them a 2-1 victory over Flamengo.

Deyverson broke the deadlock in the 95th minute after Gabriel Barbosa had cancelled out Raphael Veiga’s early strike in the all-Brazilian final at the Centenario stadium in Uruguayan capital Montevideo.

Palmeiras are the competition’s first back-to-back champions since Boca Juniors in 2001 and 2002. They have now won South America’s premier club competition three times, having lifted the trophy for the first time in 1999.

The result handed Palmeiras a berth in the next edition of the FIFA Club World Cup, to be played in February in the United Arab Emirates.

As expected, Flamengo dominated possession from the outset as Palmeiras kept a predictably low defensive line in an attempt to hit the Rio de Janeiro side on the counterattack.

The tactic worked for the holders, who caught Flamengo’s defense napping when Veiga slotted home a first-time finish from 15 yards after Mayke Olivera’s slide-rule pass from the right wing.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta had the best of Flamengo’s first-half chances but his close-range effort from inside the six-yard box was kept out by goalkeeper Weverton.

Both teams had numerous opportunities to score in a free-flowing second-half.

A long-distance attempt from Palmeiras forward Rony was spectacularly palmed away by Diego Alves while David Luiz and Bruno Henrique went close for the Rubro-negro

Barbosa put Flamengo on level terms in the 72nd minute following a superb one-two with De Arrascaeta.

The Uruguay international midfielder showed deft touch to control Barbosa’s pass before turning and, in almost the same motion, playing the ball back into the path of his onrushing teammate.

The former Inter Milan striker took just one touch before rifling a low shot that beat Weverton at his near post.

Flamengo had a slew of late chances but Palmeiras defended resolutely to force the match into extra time.

Palmeiras manager Abel Ferreira introduced Deyverson and Danilo to replace Raphael Veiga and Ze Rafael for the 30-minute epilogue while Flamengo boss Renato Gaucho withdrew Henrique for Robert Kenedy.

The changes proved decisive as Deyverson’s defensive pressure prompted Flamengo’s Manchester United loanee Andreas Pereira to fumble a David Luiz back-pass.

The former Levante, Getafe and Alaves forward then advanced unopposed into the 18-yard box before striking a left-footed shot that went in off Alves’ right leg.

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