Atletico Nacional win Copa Libertadores

Medellín (Colombia) (AFP) – Colombian giants Atletico Nacional won the Copa Libertadores for only the second time in their history after a 1-0 victory over Ecuadoran minnows Independiente del Valle secured a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

Newly acquired striker Miguel Borja was the hero for Atletico, ramming home a low shot in the ninth minute as the Medellin-based side lifted South America’s premier continental club competition for the first time since 1989.

Atletico are the first Colombian side to win the title since 2004, when Once Caldas stunned Argentine heavyweights Boca Juniors in the final.

The Copa Libertadores has been dominated by teams from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay since its inception in 1960.

However this year’s final was the first time since 1991 that no team from South America’s traditional superpowers were represented in the final.

Instead the showpiece game was fought between Atletico and Independiente del Valle, the fairytale club who only gained promotion to Ecuador’s topflight seven years ago.

Independiente had accounted for the scalps of Argentinian giants Boca Juniors and River Plate en route to the final.

However they were left with a daunting away trip to Colombia on Wednesday after being held to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Quito last week.

Atletico seized control of the tie during a frenzied opening spell when Borja fired home a rebound from a free-kick after Independiente failed to clear.

The goal was to prove decisive and marked a remarkable Libertadores campaign for Borja, who was only signed by Atletico in June.

The 23-year-old flopped during a spell with Italian side Livorno in 2013 but resurrected his career during a loan spell with Colombian side Santa Fe, scoring 10 goals in 33 games.

He followed that with 19 goals in 21 games for Cortulua before being snapped up by Atletico in time for the Libertadores semi-finals in June.

Borja scored twice in each leg of Atletico’s semi-final win over Brazilian side Sao Paulo and then bagged his fifth goal in Wednesday’s win.

The victory means Atletico qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan later this year. 

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