The trophy case for Brazilian soccer team Corinthians is filled with dozens of championships won on the Paulista state and national level. But like Captain Ahab in “Moby Dick” the Sao Paulo-based side could never catch capturing the biggest prize: the prestigious Copa Libertadores title. That all changed last night when Corinthians beat Argentina's Boca Juniors to win the 2012 Copa Libertadores:
Last week Boca Juniors striker Santiago Silva claimed, “Corinthians didn't create any chances (in the first leg in Buenos Aires) and got a draw that they didn't deserve.” But it was the Timao that took advantage of their opportunities in the return match. The first goal came in the 53rd minute when Emerson received a neat heel flick from Danilo, beat the Boca defense and calmly tucked the ball past backup goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa. Nineteen minutes later Emerson pounced on a failed pass by defender Rolando Schiavi, ran forty yards and scored the insurance goal for Corinthians.
"Our crowd represents 33 million fans. Since this year's Libertadores started, we have dreamed of clinching the title. We were all in need of this achievement," said Emerson to Fox Sports after the match.
Last night’s loss was the second time in the past month that Boca nearly captured a title only to let it slip through their fingers. Los Xeneizes failed to win in the last three matches of the Argentine Clausura season that allowed Arsenal de Sarandi to win their first ever national title. The bigger loss, however, may be the end of the Boca career of midfielder Juan Román Riquelme.
“I'll be forever grateful but I feel empty and I cannot give any more… I've been playing for 16 years but I have nothing left to give the club. Now I just want to go home, hug my kids and eat asado with my friends,” said Riquelme who was a key figure in Boca’s latest Libertadores run.
After the match the Corinthians faithful flooded the streets of Sao Paulo to celebrate their team’s conquest that included beating previous titleholders Santos and becoming the first team since Boca in 1978 to pass through an entire Libertadores campaign undefeated.
Video Source – YouTube via FutbolAlRevesHP
Online Sources – Folha.com, The Guardian, ESPN, SI.com