Flamengo cruised to a third Copa Libertadores title unbeaten after topping Atletico-PR 1-0 in Saturday’s all-Brazilian final.
Gabriel Barbosa returned to the finals, scoring the only goal in a half-full Metropolitano stadium in Ecuador.
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Flamengo also won in 1981 and 2019, with Barbosa scoring twice in the last 2-1 win over Argentina’s River Plate.
“It’s as special as my first goal in a final,” Barbosa said after the game.
Barbosa, who is considered to have little chance of playing for Brazil at the World Cup, also scored the only goal for the Rio de Janeiro club in last year’s final loss to Brazilian rivals Palmeiras.
Barbosa’s latest goal came in the 43rd minute, when Atletico defender Pedro Henrique got off the scoreboard for the second time after a fierce tackle. This incident gave Flamengo more room to attack and the goal was scored in the last few seconds of the first half.
Everton Ribeiro put in a low cross from the right and Barbosa had to push the ball into an empty net.
En route to the final, Flamengo defeated Tolima in Colombia, Corinthian in Brazil and Velez Sarsfield in Argentina, winning all their matches.
Flamengo striker Pedro, who is expected to be in Brazil’s World Cup squad, was the Copa’s top scorer with 12 in 13 games.
Flamengo coach Dorival Jr said Barbosa was key to the title in different styles, playing on both sides to feed Pedro.
“He was decisive as the top goalscorer in one title and now as a team player,” said Dorival Jr, who took over in July after Portuguese coach Paulo Sousa was sacked. “Gabriel worked for us more than he did in 2019.”
Flamingo, ex-Chelsea and Brazil centre-back David Luiz anchored their defence, enjoying 73% of possession and creating 15 chances, but only four on target, as they won South America’s equivalent of Europe’s Champions League.
Athletico, in pursuit of their first Copa Libertadores title, could not provide the perfect send-off for coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. The former World Cup-winning manager said he will retire at the age of 73. He previously won the Copa in 1995 with Gremio Juniors and in 1999 with Palmeiras.
Local authorities in Ecuador struggled to sell all 60,000 tickets for the final. Guayaquil is about 6,000 kilometers (4,000 miles) from Rio and Curitiba.