October 24, 2021

Palmeiras land Copa Libertadores with 99th-min winner

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Substitute Breno Lopes scored in the ninth minute of injury time as Palmeiras won their second Copa Libertadores with a 1-0 victory against Santos in an all-Brazilian final.

Little-known Lopes joined Palmeiras in November, coming from second division team Juventude and was brought on in the 84th minute as an intended target man for crosses.

The plan worked perfectly nine minutes into stoppage time when Rony crossed from the right and found Lopes, who headed the ball to the left of Santos goalkeeper John to decide the contest with the first effort on target of the game.

The result at Rio’s Maracana stadium was greeted with delirious celebrations back in Palmeiras’ home city of Sao Paulo.

Thousands partied on the streets around the club’s stadium the Allianz Parque, even after police closed some streets to try to prevent large gatherings.

Brazil's Palmeiras celebrate with the trophy after winning the Copa Libertadores final
Image: Brazil’s Palmeiras celebrate with the trophy after beating Santos in the Copa Libertadores final

Few people wore masks and police kept their distance as fans oblivious to the pandemic let off fireworks and danced and chanted into the night.

Although coronavirus restrictions dictate lockdown at weekends and evenings in Sao Paulo state, those rules were ignored and hundreds of more fans gathered at the club’s training ground and the airport, where their plane touched down in the early hours of the morning.

Palmeiras will go on to represent South American at the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar – their opponent in next Sunday’s semi-final will be either Mexico’s Tigres or South Korea’s Ulsan.