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Flamengo lift Copa Libertadores with last-gasp 2-1 win over River Plate

Flamengo's Giorgian de Arrascaeta shoots at goal with an overhead kick in the Copa Libertadores final against River Plate, November 23, 2019.
Flamengo's Giorgian de Arrascaeta shoots at goal with an overhead kick in the Copa Libertadores final against River Plate, November 23, 2019. Pilar Olivares, Reuters

Brazilian club Flamengo won the Copa Libertadores in the most dramatic fashion as they came from behind to beat the Argentinian defending champions River Plate 2-1 with two late goals in Peru on Saturday.

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River took the lead through Rafael Borre after 14 minutes and looked to be cruising to their fifth Libertadores triumph.

However, Barbosa, the prolific striker nicknamed Gabigol, tapped in from close range with a minute left and then rifled home from 15 metres to secure victory in an astonishing finale.

Barbosa was sent off seconds before the final whistle after a fracas that followed a red card for River's Exequiel Palacios.

The result gave Flamengo only their second Libertadores triumph and means they will represent the South American confederation in the Club World Cup in Qatar in December.

"What a historic game," Flamengo defender Rodrigo Caio said to the Globoesporte website. "We never gave up at any point. We knew it would be difficult against a big team, the 2018 champions. We really struggled in the first half but we believed in ourselves.

"We're delighted to make history with this club, with this magical victory. We hope it's just the beginning."

The Rio de Janeiro side came into the match as slight favourites on the back of a spectacular 26-game unbeaten run.

But playing in their first Libertadores final since 1981, they appeared overawed and River Plate seldom looked like relinquishing their lead as they outplayed and outmuscled their less experienced rivals.

However, just when the match looked over, Barbosa popped up with the equaliser And in a finish reminiscent of Manchester United’s last-gasp victory over Bayern Munich in the 1999 Champions League final, the 23-year-old striker pounced again in added time to send the Brazilian fans wild with joy.

The final in Lima, Peru was the first to be played on a one-off basis at a neutral venue in the competition's 60-year history.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

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