Independiente del Valle have made their first Copa Libertadores final, becoming just the third Ecuadorian side to achieve the feat, after dispatching of Argentine giants Boca Juniors 3-2.
The Ecuadorians took a 2-1 lead to the Estadio Alberto Jose Armando but they made up for the away goal and then some as they recorded a convincing 5-3 aggregate win to book their spot in the final.
Goals from Luis Caicedo, Bryan Cabezas and Julio Angulo got the job done after Cristian Pavon had initially put Boca Juniors 1-0 up and ahead on away goals after just four minutes.
Pavon would eventually score again in additional time, after Nicolas Lodeiro had a penalty saved for the hosts.
Independiente struggled to cope with Boca’s early pressure on a slick surface and a poor defensive turnover allowed Colombian full-back Frank Fabra to whip in a delightful ball to find Pavon, who tucked away a classy finish to get the second leg off to the best possible start for his team.
Boca continued to pile on the pressure, forcing a string of good saves from Independiente goalkeeper Librado Azcona, but could not double their advantage.
They were soon punished at the other end when their defence failed to clear a routine corner, allowing Caicedo to smash in and put his side back in control of the tie.
Azcona was on hand to make several saves for the remaining 20 minutes of the half, with Carlos Tevez proving the chief threat, with his defenders also helping clear their lines.
Independiente were not so wasteful in the second half, as they looked the much sharper outfit.
Cabezas put the finishing touches on a good team move to make it 2-1, before Angulo showed his predatory instincts to intercept a pass from Boca goalkeeper Agustin Orion.
The forward showed tremendous pace to burst beyond the recovering defenders and scrambling keeper, dodging Orion’s last-ditch efforts to bring him down, before netting.
And the drama did not finish there, as Boca were allowed a way back into the match when the referee awarded them a penalty just shy of the 70th minute, but Lodeiro could not beat Azcona with his spot-kick, placing it far too close to the keeper.
Pavon struck late on, but Independiente will now take on Colombian side Atletico Nacional in the final, with the first leg set for July 20.
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