By: Luis Imana
A new champion South American Cup was announced yesterday at the Mario Alberto Kempes Stadium in Córdoba after Independiente del Valle defeated Sao Paulo 2-0 in the final.
Despite the fact that the Brazilians started out as favorites due to their career and extensive squad, the “Matagigantes”, true to their nickname, took to the field with knives between their teeth and made themselves felt in the opposition area.
Independiente knocked on the opponent’s fence door from the opening whistle and on 13 minutes he received his first reward as Lautaro Díaz scored the first goal of the game with a low shot following an early error.
The Ecuadorian squad had a chance to extend their lead in the 18th minute through Junior Sornoza, who dared a shot from outside the box, but intervention from goalkeeper Alves and the post delayed the 2-0.
Needing to equalize the result, the ‘Tri’ advanced the lines and was close to matching it at 28 minutes. However, in a game where Calleri escaped from goalkeeper Caicedo, the Argentine forward’s angle was complicated and his shot went wide.
In the complement, those led by Rogerio Ceni risked everything to reverse the “score” but valley independent delivered a fatal blow at 66′ when Lautaro Díaz allowed Lorenzo Faravelli to score the ‘Matagigantes’ second goal with good definition.
Desperate to miss out on the title, Sao Paulo lost control and ended up being sent off in added time, with Calleri (90+3′) and Diego Costa (90+6′) being sent off twice.
Baby. Beder Caicedo and Jhoanner Chávez kiss the trophy. Photo: EFE
For the second time in the history of the Ecuadorian team, those led by Martin Anselmi won the South American Cup. Independiente’s first title came in 2019 after beating Colón 3-1 in the final.
Likewise, the “matagigantes” drew level with Boca Juniors, Independiente de Avellaneda and Athletico Paranaense as maximum champions of the second continental competition of Conmebol.
“We knew they were a great rival, apart from not having good results at the Brasileirao. But I think we were very smart and in the final that really outweighed that. Within ninety minutes we were fair winners,” explained Cristian Pellerano, captain of Independiente del Valle, after the final.
The Black and Blues thus closed the South American competition without a single defeat with a record of five wins and a draw. The ‘Matagigantes’ celebrate a well-deserved title, the result of much work and effort.
Lorenzo Faravelli, Independiente player
“I firmly believe that things are not a coincidence, but the result of effort, work, dedication and process. This is the triumph of a process.”