Internacional superstars claim Copa Libertadores win
Brazil's Internacional fought off a spirited fight-back from Chivas de Guadalajara to win the 2010 Copa Libertadores.
After going down 2-1 in Mexico last week Chivas got themselves back on level terms in spectacular fashion. The visitors' dreams of leaving Brazil with the cup were then dashed by three second half strikes from Inter.
Following a mammoth 5,000 mile trip to Porto Alegre the Mexican outfit were pleasantly surprised to receive red carpet treatment on arrival. Inter's city rivals Grêmio offered Chivas the full use of their training facilities to prepare for the second leg.
With the straightforward task of needing to score at least once José Luis Real's strike partnership of Adolfo Bautista and Omar Bravo did their best to get among Inter's backline. Chivas' best chance of the early sparring fell to midfielder Marco Fabián who spun away from Nei and Pablo Guiñazú before fizzing a long range effort just wide.
Inter's initial efforts in attack were thwarted due to the close attention paid to dangermen Rafael Sóbis and Taison. This in itself was a risky ploy by Chivas with Mario de Luna, Adolfo Bautista and Fabián all picking up early yellow cards. The home side also posed a threat from set-plays with Andrés D'Alessandro's pin-point delivery creating half chances for Bolívar and Sandro.
With half-time looming Colombian referee Oscar Ruiz was forced to make his first big call of the night. After gathering a loose ball on the by-line Sóbis was clattered inside the box by Mexican goalkeeper Luis Michel. Ruiz waved away Sóbis' appeals for a penalty and awarded a goal kick but the replays sided with the attacker.
If Chivas had ridden their luck in their own 18-yard box what happened next at the other end was truly inspired. Coming into the final Bravo already had already bagged four goals in the competition but on the stroke of half-time he turned provider.
For the first time in the match Bravo beat Bolívar in an aerial dual and nodded the ball across the box. With his back to goal Fabián turned on a sixpence and was fully airborne when he stuck the ball on the half volley. The wonderfully taken goal was enough to start nerves jangling around Beira-Rio as the players left the pitch for half-time.
Inter head coach Celso Roth had plenty to say to his players after witnessing them concede only their second goal at home in the entire competition. With the gaffer's words ringing in their ears the Brazilians returned for the second period with renewed fire in their bellies.
Left-back Kléber began to impose himself on the contest and soon became a regular fixture in the final third of the pitch. At the end of one buccaneering run Kléber played in Sóbis one-on-one with Michel but the goalkeeper saved bravely at the striker's feet.
Chivas held off Inter until the hour mark but eventually a goal for the home side came with an air of inevitability attached to it. All action midfielder Tinga found Kléber who had once again taken up an advance position. Kléber's attempt at a one-two with Tinga missed its target but fell into Sóbis' lap for a simple stab home.
After fluffing his lines earlier when clean through Sóbis celebrated his third goal for Inter in at this stage of the competition. The striker's brace four years earlier helped the Colorados to their first ever Copa Libertadores title.
With Sóbis getting on the scoresheet Roth excused him with twenty minutes of normal time remaining. Leandro Damião was introduced to the Inter attack and immediately put his fresh legs to good use.
A moment of indecision from de Luna on the halfway line saw him pickpocketed by Damião and the striker soon had the whites of Michel's eyes in his sights. Although the Chivas goalkeeper managed to get a glove on Damião's shot he could not prevent the strike from rustling the onion bag.
With Inter 2-1 up on the night and leading the final 4-2 on aggregate the party started early on the terraces inside Beira-Rio. The dress code for the bash seemed to be fancy dress if the orange swimming cap Tinga put on after receiving treatment for a cut was anything to go by.
If the contest had been a boxing match it would have been stopped long before full time but Inter were allowed to pour forward unmercifully in the last ten minutes. De Luna and Héctor Reynoso will be high above the Caribbean before they finally get to grips with the dummy Giuliano sold them late on in the game.
After taking out the two Chivas defenders with a step over and a drop of the shoulder Giuliano poked the ball through a narrow gap before lifting his shot over Patricio Araujo and Michel to make it 5-2 on aggregate.
The humiliation was too much to take for Chivas midfielder Omar Arellano who received his marching orders for some vicious floorwork aimed at D'Alessandro.
Despite the youthful Mexican outfit losing their cool their was still time for Bravo to bundle home a Bautista free-kick after it had cannoned back off the crossbar.
At the final whistle the crowd were treated to the kind of mass brawl which now seems to be part and parcel of these occasions. After armed police had successfully wrestled a particularly menacing pair of crutches off an irate Bautista the entire Chivas squad received some pantomime-esque booing as they collected their runners-up medals.
Pelé was on hand to restore some order to proceedings before Inter got on stage and kicked off the celebrations proper. With that trademark mix of youth and experience expect Brazil's Inter to give Italy's Inter a good go when the two teams meet at the Club World Cup later this year.
Internacional 4-5-1: Renan; Nei, Bolívar, Índio, Kleber; Sandro, Guiñazu, Tinga (Wilson Mathias, 84), D'Alessandro, Taison (Giuliano, 65); Rafael Sobis (Leandro Damião, 72).
Substitutes not used: Andrezinho, Fabiano Eller, Glaydson, Abbondanzieri (gk).
Booked Bolívar, Giuliano.
Chivas de Guadalajara 4-4-2: Michel; Magallón, Reynoso, De Luna, Ponce (Escalante, 78); Báez (Vázquez, 81), Araujo, Fabián, Arellano; Bautista, Bravo.
Substitutes not used: Perez, Mejía, Enriquez, Arias (gk), Dávila.
Booked De Luna, Fabián, Bautista, Bravo.
Sent Off Arellano.
Man of the match Tinga.
Referee Oscar Ruiz (Colombia).
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