Atlético won their first continental trophy in the 94-year history of the club
Tonight was a special night for Brazilian-side Atlético-PR, as they defeated Colombia’s Junior Barranquilla on penalties to claim the 2018 Copa Sudamericana on home soil.
The trophy is Atlético’s first continental trophy and third title overall, not counting regional competitions.
After a 1-1 draw in Colombia last week, the two sides played to a similar scoreline through 90 minutes and couldn’t be separated in extra time.
Pablo Felipe opened the scoring for the Brazilians, however, a thunderous header from Teófilo Gutiérrez leveled the score to make the last hour of the match an extremely tense affair.
Atlético dominated the first half and took a deserved lead in the 27th minute.
The crowd erupted in the as Atlético took the advantage through Pablo Felipe, after a lovely incisive pass from Raphael Veiga, to put Atlético ahead 2-1 on aggregate.
Felipe nearly completed his brace from the second-half kickoff, as he forced Sebastián Viera to make a sensational diving stop.
Atlético would regret their missed opportunity as Colombian international striker Teófilo Gutiérrez would equalise just before the hour-mark completely against the run of play.
Off a corner, Teo rose up and struck a ferocious header into the top corner to level the tie on aggregate.
O gol de empate de Teo Gutierrez
Athletico/PR 1×1 Junior Barranquilla pic.twitter.com/ONBIgSoRkV
— HTE Sports (@HTE__Sports) December 13, 2018
Less than a minute from the ensuing kickoff, Teo got behind the Atlético defence and slotted his shot between the legs of Santos. However, his shot would go just inches wide of the post.
Teo and Junior FC kept the pressure on and nearly scored five minutes later, whizzing a shot from the top of the box just past the post.
After a tense final 20 minutes of play, the two teams couldn’t be separated and the match went to extra time.
The two sides went back and forth in an intense 30 minutes with a number of penalty shouts, and Junior were finally awarded one in the 110th minute after Jarlan Barrera got behind the defence and was taken down by Santos.
However, Barrera stepped up and sent his penalty just over the bar, despite sending Santos the wrong way.
— CONMEBOL Sudamericana (@Sudamericana) December 13, 2018
After 120 minutes, the two teams had to go to penalties.
Both sides made their first penalties before Junior’s Gabriel Gómez smashed his effort against the post.
Atlético PR had a 3-2 lead heading into the fourth round of penalties when Junior’s goalscorer Teo leaned too far back and sent his effort over the bar.
Renan Lodi stepped up with a chance to be a hero, but put his penalty inches wide of the post.
Junior goalkeeper Sebastián Viera converted his penalty to make it 3-3, but captain Thiago Heleno converted his spot kick to give Atlético their first continental trophy and third trophy overall.
Atlético previously had won the Série B title in 1995 and the Brasileirão in 2001.
Atlético will now take part in the Copa Libertadores next year for the first time since 2014 and fifth time overall.
They will also face 2018 Copa Libertadores champions River Plate in the 2019 Recopa Sudamericana.