Barbosa scored two late goals and was then sent off in a crazy ending to the tournament
Brazilian club, Flamengo, won the Copa Libertadores title in a dramatic manner as they scored two late goals through Inter loanee, Gabriel Barbosa to snatch it away from famed Argentinian rivals and defending champions, River Plate.
Flamengo were arguably the in-form side going into the game, as they were unbeaten in their last 26 matches. However, they did not play with that confidence. River Plate were undoubtedly the better side and predictably took the lead in the 14th minute.
Rafael Santos Borre ran into the box and promptly tucked home from Matias Suarez’s cross to give River Plate the much-needed early advantage. The Argentinian side controlled the game from thereon but rued their lack of more goals at the final whistle.
Barbosa, also known as Gabigol, ran in to meet Bruno Henrique’s cross to equalize in the 89th minute and then showed incredible strength to stave off the River Plate defence and slot in the winner three minutes later to send the club and its fans into raptures.
The game saw a heated ending as the referee produced two red cards in the dying moments. First, River Plate’s Exequiel Palacios was sent off for kicking Bruno Henrique and then Flamengo’s hero, Barbosa joined him for applauding in a sarcastic manner, though he did not care by then.
89': Scores the equaliser
90+2': Scores the winner
90+4': Sent off
Gabriel Barbosa turned the Copa Libertadores final on its head. 🔴⚫️ pic.twitter.com/I9rrsl6uEk
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) November 23, 2019
"It was just like that Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich final 20 years ago, wasn't it?" Flamengo midfielder and captain, Everton Ribeiro was quoted by the Associated Press.
It was only Flamengo’s second Copa Libertadores title, and their first since 1981 and to win it in a manner very similar to Manchester United’s last-gasp victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final made it all the more special.
With this victory, Flamengo will now be the South American representative in the FIFA Club World Cup scheduled to be held in Qatar next month, a tournament where they will likely face a depleted Liverpool side as Jurgen Klopp grapples with a fixture pile-up conundrum.
However, Flamengo fans can expect an even better weekend as their club can be crowned the Brazilian Serie A champions if Palmeiras do not beat Gremio in a Sunday kick-off.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Luka Gonzales