An Emerson Sheik brace has secured Corinthians their first ever Copa Libertadores title with a 2-0 home win over Argentine giants Boca Juniors.
After holding six-time champions Boca to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Buenos Aires a week ago, a second-half double from Qatari striker Emerson proved the difference in Sao Paulo, firing the Brazilian club to a 3-1 aggregate victory.
Corinthians became the first club since Boca Juniors in 1978 to win the tournament undefeated.
The first half began as a cagey affair, with neither side wanting to make the first mistake.
Following a good spell of pressure from Corinthians in the middle of the half, Boca Juniors looked nervy and struggled to maintain possession as the home side pressed high up the field.
On the half-hour mark, the visitors suffered a blow to their chances as Agustin Orion’s knee injury forced Boca coach Julio Falcioni to replace his regular number one with reserve goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa.
Corinthians continued to press in the second half, as Emerson and Paulinho began to influence the game and create openings, and they did not have to wait long to break the deadlock.
In the 54th minute, Alex’s free kick from the right flank was flicked-on inside the box by Jorge Henrique towards Danilo. As the ball fell inside the area, Danilo skilfully back-heeled the bouncing ball to Emerson, who took the pass in his stride and struck past Sosa on the half volley.
Emerson doubled Corinthian’ advantage on 72 minutes. The Qatari international capitalised on a horrible mistake from Rolando Schiavi, collecting his loose pass across the pitch before running one-on-one with Sosa and slotting the ball into the far corner to score his fifth goal of the tournament.
Corinthians have now qualified for the FIFA Club World Club Championships which will take place in December in Japan.