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SPORTS | 21-11-2019 13:04

River and Flamengo in Lima for Copa Libertadores final

For the first time in the Copa's 58-year history, the final is a single match. Marcelo Gallardo's side are seeking their fifth crown, after winning the competition in 1986, 1996, 2015 and 2018

Defending champions River Plate are "a little nervous" ahead of the Copa Libertadores final on Saturday, according to midfielder Nacho Fernández.

He added, though, his hope that the Millionario will play with "a cool head and a warm heart" against Brazilian side Flamengo.

Both teams, River first then Flamengo arrived on Wedenesday evening, welcomed by hundreds of fans at Lima's airport.

Flamengo was given a bigger farewell as tens of thousands of supporters followed the team bus to Rio de Janeiro's international airport. In contrast, Argentine fans offered a quieter farewell on the streets of Buenos Aires.

Lima's Monumental Universitário Stadium replaced Santiago's Estádio Nacional as the venue for the final after street protests erupted in Chile this month. An estimated 80,000 are expected to attend.

For the first time in the Copa's 58-year history, the final is a single match. River are seeking their fifth crown, after winning the competition in 1986, 1996, 2015 and 2018, with coach Marcelo Gallardo leading the side in the latter two. 

River won last year over two controversial legs against arch-rivals Boca Juniors. The first leg was drawn, but the second leg was delayed after violence against the Boca team. The second leg was moved to Madrid, where River won 3-1 to win its fourth crown.

The Millo qualified for the final this year by defeating Boca too, 2-1 on aggregate over two legs.

"All finals are difficult. With Boca it was very difficult. This will also be difficult, but we arrived here well, with confidence because the team always responds in these situations," Fernández added.

"This final is a great motivation, we will try to do things as we have been doing so far both in the Cup and in the Superliga and the Copa Argentina," he said.

Flamengo won its only previous Copa in 1981, when stars such as Zico, Nunes, Junior, Leandro, Tita, Adílio and others shone.

Kick off is 3pm local time/5pm Buenos Aires/8pm GMT, this Saturday.

– TIMES/AP/AFP

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