Ecuadorian outfit Liga Deportiva Universitaria have been crowned the Copa Sudamericana champions despite a 3-0 defeat to Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro.
The 5-1 first leg win last week in Quito was enough for Jorge Fossati’s side to lift their third continental title in two years, having won the Copa Libertadores and the Recopa Sudamericana in 2008.
Needing a four-goal win to take the game to extra-time, Fluminense managed to reduce the deficit when they took a 3-0 lead with 20 minutes remaining. Having already seen Ulises de la Cruz dismissed in the first half, LDU lost Jairo Campos with seven minutes remaining, but the Brazilian side, who had Fred sent off, were unable to capitalise on their numerical advantage.
LDU now face matches against this year’s Copa Libertadores winners Estudiantes, of Argentina, before playing Japanese J League Cup winners FC Tokyo in the Suruga Bank Championship.
LDU’s Claudio Bieler, the tournament’s leading scorer with eight goals, told Fox Sports: “The joy is huge. I want to share it with all the squad, the coaching staff and the officials. All of us made a big sacrifice. We suffered quite a lot, but we have finally won the cup. The last two years have been amazing. This is the result of the club’s big effort.”
Dominguez said: “Fluminense play great football but thank God we made it, we knew it was going to be difficult. The key of success is working hard daily. To win the Copa Sudamericana is not a matter of today only.”
Fluminense boss Cuca could not help but reflect on his team’s heavy defeat in the first leg.
He told SporTV: “Liga did not attack us – but they were brilliant last week. We fought a lot but have to congratulate the Liga players for being the champions.”