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Brazil’s Gremio win third Copa Libertadores crown


Buenos Aires (AFP) – Brazilian side Gremio won their third Copa Libertadores crown on Wednesday with a 2-1 triumph over Argentina’s Lanus in La Fortaleza stadium.

Gremio arrived in Argentina off a 1-0 win in the first leg of the final in Porto Alegre, and bolstered their advantage with first-half goals from Fernandinho and Luan.

Fernandinho’s blistering left-footed shot — after he had stolen the ball in Gremio’s half — put the visitors up 1-0 in the 27th.

Luan doubled the score with a breathtaking effort in the 42nd, picking up the ball on the left flank and serenely making his way past three defenders before floating a shot over goalkeeper Esteban Andrada and into the net.

Luan finished with eight goals in the campaign and was named best player of the 2017 edition of the South American club championship.

Jose Sand converted a penalty in the 72nd to trim the deficit. But his tournament-leading ninth goal ultimately made no difference. Nor did the sending-off of Gremio’s Ramiro in the 83rd minute as Lanus — who came back from three goals down to beat River Plate in the semi-finals — were denied a first Libertadores Cup title.

Gremio added their third title to those they won in 1983 and 1995.

“It’s a wonderful moment, the players are real warriors,” said coach Renato Gaucho, who won the title as a player with the club in 1983.

Gaucho’s men took control early. Midfielder Arthur Melo was a force in the first half, the 21-year-old finding dozens of touches and delivering an astonishing array of pinpoint passes that earned him Man of the Match honors even though injury cut his night short six minutes into the second half.

With the victory, Gremio qualified directly into the semi-finals of the Club World Cup in December, where they’ll face either Africa’s Wydad Casablanca or CONCACAF representative Pachuca of Mexico.

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