Colombians have key impact on Copa Libertadores final
MADRID (AP) — Two Colombian players made all the difference — one good, one bad — in the Copa Libertadores final Sunday.
Boca Juniors’ Wilmar Barrios was sent off close to the start of extra time, and River Plate’s Juan Fernando Quintero scored his team’s second goal at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.
River added a third to win 3-1 and lift its fourth South American crown, 5-3 on aggregate.
The 25-year-old Barrios was one of Boca’s best players in the first 90 minutes, blocking out River’s creative midfield. His first yellow card came near the end of the second half of regular time, and the second following a violent tackle on Exequiel Palacios only two minutes into extra time.
Barrios did not speak to journalists after the match.
River took advantage of the extra man and 25-year-old Quintero, who nearly missed the final due to injury, scored after 108 minutes. The Colombian received the ball on the edge of Boca’s box and guided in a well-struck shot to put River ahead.
In the dying seconds of the match, Quintero assisted Gonzalo “Pity” Martinez, who pushed the ball into an empty net after Boca’s goalkeeper Esteban Andrada tried to score from a corner.
Wrapped in a Colombian flag, Quintero told journalists he wanted to pay a little tribute to the impoverished Medellin area he grew, a place once ruled by drug dealers.
“Greetings to all my Colombia and my Comuna 13,” he said. “I scored one of the best goals of my career tonight, so I am very happy. I want to enjoy it with my teammates and tomorrow start thinking of the FIFA Club World Cup.”
The first leg of the final ended 2-2. The second was transferred to Madrid because of fan violence in Buenos Aires.