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Saturday, December 20, 2003 

River Plate loses to Cienciano in the final

The Peruan Club Cienciano won the South-American Cup, after beating River Plate 1-0, in the second leg (4-3 on aggregate).

The Argentinian team dominated the match, but the strikers were never able to finish the opportunities created by Gallardo and Coudet. Marcelo Salas was substituted with only 16' of game due to an injury. During the first half, the Cienciano keeper was the most intervenient player on the pitch, making a magnificent exhibition, stoping the shots from Lopez, Montenegro and Gallardo. By the end of the first half, the River players started to appear tired, due to the effort of the first half hour, and also due to the high altitude of Arequipa, the location of the venue (2600 mts).

On the second half, the Peruans appeared with a stronger will, motivated by the keeper exhibition and the 3-3 draw in Buenos Aires, on the first leg. With only 6 minutes in the half, Cienciano midfielder La Rosa was sent off, wich wasn't enough for River to re-take control of the game. In one of the only shots at Constanzo's goal, Carlos Lugo scored in a wonderfull free-kick that enchanted a packed stadium, a hoping nation, in what was becoming an historical feat. Finding themselves one goal back, the River players pushed forward but they started playing more with their hearts than with their feat. Cienciano were reduced to nine men with less than ten minutes to play, but it was already too late to make a difference.

Cienciano Club is the first Peruan team to win a club competition in South America.

Cienciano: Oscar Ibáñez; Alessandro Morán, Santiago Acasiete, Carlos Lugo, Giuliano Portilla; Juan Carlos La Rosa, Juan Carlos Bazalar (92' Miguel Llanos), Julio García, Paolo Maldonado (57' César Ccahuantico); Rodrigo Saraz (83' Martín García), Germán Carty.

River Plate: Franco Constanzo; Oscar Ahumada (85' Daniel Ludueña), Horacio Ameli, Eduardo Tuzzio, Ricardo Rojas; Javier Mascherano, Eduardo Coudet, Luis González (76' Alejandro Domínguez), Marcelo Gallardo; Maximiliano López, Marcelo Salas (16' Daniel Montenegro).

Gols:77' Carlos Lugo


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