Liga de Quito clinch first Copa Libertadores title

Rio De Janeiro, July 3:

Goalkeeper Jose Francisco Cevallos saved three penalties and Liga de Quito defeated Fluminense 3-1 in a shootout to become the first Ecuadorean club to win the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday.

Liga clinched the title of Latin America’s most important club competition despite a 3-1 loss in regulation, which tied the aggregate score at 5-5. They had won the first leg 4-2 last week and could have lifted the trophy with a draw or even a one-goal loss. The teams drew 0-0 in extra time.

Cevallos stopped shots from Argentine midfielder Dario Conca, playmaker Thiago Neves and striker Washington. Patricio Urrutia, Franklin Salas and Joffre Guerron netted for Liga, while Cicero claimed Fluminense’s lone goal. Jairo Campos missed the only penalty for the Ecuadoreans. With the victory, Liga also earned a spot in FIFA’s Club World Cup to be held later this year.

Liga striker Luis Bolanos opened the scoring early in the sixth minute. Fluminense quickly equalised when Neves cleared a defender before firing a left-footer from about 25 yards in the 11th minute.

And it was Neves again who put Fluminense ahead in the 28th, completing a left-flank cross from midfielder Cicero with a close-range shot that caught the Liga defense by surprise. Neves, one of Brazil’s most-promising stars, added his third goal with a well-struck free kick in the 57th.