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Sport

River Plate Fight Back To Win Copa Libertadores in Madrid

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Juan Quintero’s stunning extra-time strike helped River Plate come from a goal down to record a historic victory over 10-man Boca Juniors in Madrid and win the Copa Libertadores.

Quintero scored in the 109th minute of the second leg between the fierce Argentine rivals before team-mate Gonzalo Martinez wrapped up a 3-1 victory on the night for River – and a 5-3 win on aggregate.

Martinez ran the ball into an empty net with the last kick of the game after Boca keeper Esteban Andrada had been caught upfield at a corner.

That ended a dramatic extra-time period, which had started with the sending-off of Boca midfielder Wilmar Barrios for a second bookable offence – a two-footed challenge on Exequiel Palacios.

Martinez’s goal completed a dramatic turnaround in a match moved more than 6,000 miles from Buenos Aires, in Argentina, to the Spanish capital after its postponement in November, when Boca’s team bus was attacked by River fans, causing injury to players and staff.

Dario Benedetto had fired Boca into the lead shortly before half-time at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu Stadium.

Benedetto finished off a devastating counter-attack and celebrated by sticking his tongue out at River defender Gonzalo Montiel.

Former Barcelona striker Lucas Pratto equalised for River in the second half, when he slotted home a cutback at the end of a slick passing move.

The crowd spent the majority of the match standing up – and many River fans were seen crying with delight when their team equalised. Those supporters were delirious with joy as their team came back to win in the additional half an hour.

It was the first time in the 58-year history of the Copa Libertadores that the two great Buenos Aires rivals have faced each other in the two-legged final, with the first leg, on 11 November, ending in a 2-2 draw.

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