South America, where football is religion. And the iconic Maracanã, the temple par excellence. Felipe Melo (ex-Juventus), at the age of forty, was crying like a small child on the field after the national anthems. In case anyone is still wondering about the weight of the Copa Libertadores, several sources mentioned that one million Argentinians crossed over to Rio de Janeiro.
The final of the South American counterpart of the Champions League was between Boca Juniors and Fluminense. An Argentina-Brazil in miniature. Here and there also with a veteran with nobility in European football. Marcelo (Fluminense) could become the 14th to win both the Champions League and the Copa Libertadores. At Boca, names like Edinson Cavani and Sergio Romero are in the starting line-up.
In a typical final, the neutral fan saw a lot of fighting and little football. It was a long wait for goal scoring in a closed first half. Just after the half hour an opening finally came. German Cano – an Argentinian of all people – received the ball perfectly in the box and simply slotted home. Fluminense was thus able to rest with a well-deserved lead. The Argentinian fans turned to the gods.
Boca had to come after the break. The Argentinians fought – sometimes literally – in the match, but they had to look for opportunities. The 1-1 would therefore come after an individual action. Advincula – who was a trendsetter at the 2018 World Cup with Peru in the distant past – cut inside and found the hole in the far corner. Maracanã was allowed to prepare for extensions.
The pace completely dropped during extra time. Until John Kennedy gave Fluminense the lead again with a huge bolt. Tears of happiness for Marcelo. John Kennedy celebrated with the supporters and promptly received his second yellow card. For another fifteen minutes, the Brazilians had to fight and toil to get the victory over the line. Successfully. All Brazilians went crazy, the disappointment among the Boca supporters was unprecedented. South American emotions never disappoint.