Boca Juniors came up short Saturday in trying to win its seventh Copa Libertadores, losing the final 2-1 to Brazil’s Fluminense. The Argentine giants visited Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro looking for a record-tying seventh title in South America’s most important international club competition. After a very heated and hard-fought final that ended in a tie and had to be decided in extra time, it was Fluminense who came out on top and lifted its first Libertadores title.
The build-up to Saturday’s match proved to be a heated affair once again. After Thursday’s incidents between Fluminense fans, Rio de Janeiro Police, and Boca supporters, there were fights once again when Boca fans entered the stadium. However, the game was able to begin on time and without problems.
Fluminense started off better, controlling the ball and looking to pass its way around Boca’s defenders. However, the Xeneizes gained control of the game as the first half went along. Flu’s game plan left a lot of space behind the defense, and Boca pressed high up the pitch to launch quick counters.
One of those counters found Boca’s striker Edinson Cavani with a straight path to the goal 16 minutes into the game, in what was up until then the best chance of the match. The Uruguayan chose to play a back pass, and the play lost momentum.
With Boca looking like the best side, 20 minutes later, Fluminense showcased why it’s currently considered one of the best teams in the world. Wingers Keno França and Jhon Arias combined to put in a low cross, which Argentine striker Germán Cano slotted in for the 1-0.
The goal gave some flight back to the Brazilian team, with more chances coming its way, but the half would end 1-0.
Fluminense looked close to widening its advantage once the second half kicked off, controlling the ball again and managing to get deep into Boca territory. But it would be the Xeneize who ended up scoring when defender Luis Advíncula took the ball outside the Flu box and put a great shot low into the goalkeeper’s right from outside the box at the 71st minute.
The goal gave Boca momentum and control of the game. Almirón’s team, however, failed to take advantage. The regulatory 90 minutes ended 1-1, sending the game into extra time.
The Xeneize looked like the better team early on, but once again they ended up on the wrong side of a goal. Striker John Kennedy scored an incredible half-volley from a Cano header to make it 2-1 for Fluminense eight minutes into added time. But he went from hero to villain as he went to celebrate with the fans, earning himself a second yellow card and an automatic ejection, leaving his team with 10 players.