Buenos Aires Times

sports CONMEBOL

Gremio beat Independiente on penalties to win Recopa Sudamericana

The two sides remained tied 1-1 on aggregate after two full matches plus extra time.

Thursday 22 February, 2018
Gremio players celebrate winning the Recopa Sudamericana final against Independiente late Wednesday night.
Gremio players celebrate winning the Recopa Sudamericana final against Independiente late Wednesday night. Foto:AP Photo/Andre Penner

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Gremio defeated Independiente late on Wednesday night in a 5-4 penalty kick shootout to win the Recopa Sudamericana over two legs.

The score after 90 minutes in the first leg and 120 in the second remained tied at 1-1, forcing the two teams to head to penalties. The contest finally ended after Gremio goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe stopped the last penalty of the series from Independiente striker Martín Benítez.

With two massive clubs on the field, an international trophy on the line and the age-old Brazil and Argentina rivalry in the mix as well, the tie was one to remember. Plus, Brazil national team head coach Tite was in the crowd, adding an extra bit of incentive to the Brazilian players.

El Rojo played most of the match with 10 men after defender Fernando Amorebieta saw red minutes before halftime in the aftermath of a tussle between players, an indication of the heightened emotion in the game. The Paraguayan center referee had to rely on his video assistant (VAR) to determine the correct culprit. Independiente also had a red card in the first leg, that time awarded to forward Emmanuel Gigliotti.

The Brazilians did press their advantage until the end of extra time with 25 shots, nine on target and 71 percent possession, but couldn't find a way past their opponents' defence.

The first leg, held in Buenos Aires on February 14, ended 1-1. The competition does not use an away goals rule, which meant when the second leg in Porto Alegre ended score-less the two sides remained deadlocked.

The CONMEBOL Recopa Sudamericana is an annual single tie, two leg tournament between the winners of the most recent Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana, the first and second most important South American club competitions, respectively. Gremio won the Recopa for the last and only previous time in 1996.

-TIMES/AP/AFP

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