Brazilian side Flamengo crowned Champions of South America for 2nd time in 4 years


Flamengo defeated fellow Brazilian side Club Athletico Paranaense 1-0 in the Copa Libertadores Final in Guayaquil, Ecuador.


CONMEBOL (governing body of football in South America) changed the format of their main continental club competition from a home and away leg final, which had been in existence since 1960, to a single neutral venue final in 2019. Flamengo won that first new style final in Lima, Peru, and were strong favourites to take the trophy home to Rio de Janeiro again for a third time in their history.

On Halloween weekend the streets of Ecuador’s largest city Guayaquil were packed full of tens of thousands of Portuguese-speaking football fans, dressed in the red and black colours of both Brazilian sides Flamengo from Rio and Club Athletico Paranaense from Curitiba.

The 60,000-capacity Estadio Monumental, home to Ecuador’s most successful club side Barcelona Sporting Club, was only about three-quarters full as the teams entered the pitch in a humid 27 degrees. As well as sizeable support from Brazil’s most popular team Flamengo, Paranaense also brought a decent support with them from the west coast of South America to the northeast coast. Many intrigued Ecuador football fans, wearing a mixture of yellow Ecuador shirts and Barcelona SC shirts, paid the sizeable 245 US Dollar entry prices to join the Brazilian fans watching the prestigious final. To put that price into perspective in terms of prices in Ecuador, the 20-minute Uber ride from Guayaquil’s airport to the stadium typically costs just 6 USD.

Flamengo suffered an early blow in the match when former Chelsea defender Filipe Luís limped off with an injury after just 20 minutes.

A controversial moment shortly before half time had a massive bearing on the outcome of the match. Paranaense defender Pedro Henrique was given a second yellow card by Argentinean referee Patricio Loustau for what seemed like a fair tackle as Flamengo broke forward.

While the Curitiba side were still adjusting to being down to ten men, Flamengo got a crucial goal just moments before the referee blew his whistle for half time. Gabriel Barbosa slotted the ball home at the far post following an inch-perfect cross into the box.

There was much thinking to be done by Paranaense manager Felipe Scolari at the break, as the former Chelsea and Brazil manager had to motivate his players to suddenly being a man and a goal down.

However, there was nothing his team could do in the second half to change things around as Flamengo held on for the single-goal victory to be crowned the 2022 Copa Libertadores Champions.

The win means that Flamengo qualifies as the South American representative for the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup, the venue and timing of which are still to be determined. The Rubro-Negros (Scarlet-Blacks) have also earned the right to play Ecuadorian club Independiente del Valle, who recently won the 2022 Copa Sudamericana, in the Recopa Sudamericana in February 2023.



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