Dec 5, 2007

Arsenal De Sarandi Wins Copa Sudamericana

Argentina's Arsenal de Sarandi won the Copa Sudamericana, the Western hemisphere's second-biggest club championship, taking home the coveted trophy by virtue of the away-goal rule in its home-and-home series with Mexico City's Club America. It was the club's first-ever title in 50 years of existence. Arsenal took the first leg at the Estadio Azteca 3-2 and lost tonight's return leg 2-1. Arsenal's decisive goal came in the 84th minute on a pure force of will by Martin Andrizzi in the visitor's penalty area. The 31 year-old Argentine literally bulled his way past three America defenders before beating its goalkeeper, Guillermo Ochoa, with a shot to the far post.

In a passionate game played at the Racing Club Avellaneda, America led from the 18th minute but were lucky not to give up the tying goal as Arsenal hit the woodwork three times in the first half alone. Aguillas' 19 year-old forward Juan Carlos Silva scored on a brilliant volley to put his team up 2-0 in the 63rd minute. Had the game ended then, America would have been champions. But El Arse piled on the pressure and Andrizzi's goal was the well-earned consequence.

There were a few ugly scenes toward the end of the game, with Martin Castroman receiving a red card in the waning minutes. An Arsenal supporter ran onto the field and sprinted the length of the pitch, before turning around and going all the way back. Amazingly--at least for fans accustomed to the rigid atmosphere at U.S. sporting events--he was not apprehended.

Arsenal's triumph is a significant upset, as the tournament saw several bigger-named clubs go by the wayside. El Arse first had to dispense of compatriots San Lorenzo in the preliminary draw, before beating Brazil's Goias in the Round of 16. Next up was Chivas, followed by River Plate via a penalty shootout.

1 comment:

  1. A great match! Sure to become a classic, especially since the underdog won.