- Violent scenes played out in the streets of Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the match
- Saturday’s final was also chaotic, with one player from each team sent off the field
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Fluminese and Boca Juniors were both reduced to ten men as tempers and emotions flared in a memorable Copa Libertadores final on Saturday night.
John Kennedy, a 21-year-old striker with many ups and downs in his short career, scored the winning goal in extra time to give Brazil’s Fluminense its first title against Argentina’s Boca.
But moments after scoring the second in their 2-1 win at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium, where his powerful volley from the edge of the penalty area flew past goalkeeper Sergio Romero’s left corner, Kennedy was sent off for a second yellow card. after jumping into the crowd to celebrate his eventual winner.
The 21-year-old jumped the barrier at the side of the pitch and sprinted into the crowd to hug the Fluminese supporters, but received his marching orders as he returned to the match.
Shortly afterwards, Boca were also reduced to 10 men when left back Frank Fabra saw red for punching an opponent in the closing stages of extra time.
Fluminese and Boca Juniors were both reduced to 10 men in a memorable Copa Libertadores final, with striker John Kennedy shown a second yellow card for jumping into the crowd (pictured)
Left back Frank Fabra was sent off for punching an opponent in the final phase of extra time
Boca were playing for their seventh title in the tournament, but the tens of thousands of fans in Rio saw their hopes briefly fade after their compatriot Germán Cano opened the scoring for Fluminese in the 36th minute after a low cross from Keno.
The 35-year-old Cano has scored 81 goals for the Rio club in 125 matches over the past two years.
Boca lost some momentum, but managed to equalize in the 72nd minute with a powerful shot by Luis Advincula from the edge of the penalty area, a goal that allowed the Argentine fans to dream of the title again, counting on Romero’s great penalty -saving skills.
Eight minutes later, Kennedy intervened. His extra-time goal came as Fluminense pushed forward, knowing a penalty shootout could swing the final Boca’s way.
The striker, who made his first appearance at the Rio club in 2021, struggled to get a starting spot last year. He was loaned to a small club that had been relegated to the Sao Paulo state league, and only returned to Fluminense months ago.
Saturday’s wild final took place after violent scenes unfolded on the streets of Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the match.
Fluminense ultras clashed with police in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the clash between the Libertadores and Boca, with police forced to wear full riot gear as they were attacked by the ultras who were not seen in the footage.