Lionel Messi's boyhood club clinched their spot in the 2019 Copa Libertadores on Thursday night
Rosario Central claimed their spot in the 2019 Copa Libertadores group stage by getting past Gimnasia in penalties to win the Copa Argentina after the teams couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes.
Rosario will now take part in South America’s premiere competition for the first time since 2016 and just their second time since 2006.
The title is Rosario’s first-ever Copa Argentina crown, as the team had lost the final on three straight occasions from 2014 to 2016.
Though Fernando Zampedri’s goal would be canceled out by Lorenzo Faravelli’s second-half strike, it wouldn’t matter as Rosario were far superior in the penalty shootout.
After a wide-open first 20 minutes, Rosario Central drew first blood through Fernando Zampedri. After first hitting the post with his first attempt, the ball eventually squirted back to Zampedri, who smashed the ball into the back of the net.
Ten minutes later, Zampedri nearly scored again with a deft header, but his effort was palmed over the net.
After the half-time intermission, Gimnasia equalised just seven minutes later in some style.
Lorenzo Faravelli capped off a scintillating counterattack with a stunning strike to make it 1-1.
The two clubs couldn’t be separated and the match went straight to penalties after 90 minutes.
Rosario made all four of their penalties as Santiago Silva and Manuel Guanini missed Gimnasia’s first two attempts.
Rosario Central, Boca Juniors, Godoy Cruz, San Lorenzo, and Huracan have all qualified for next year’s group stage, while Talleres have qualified for the Libertadores second stage.
River Plate can also qualify if they win this weekend’s Copa Libertadores final.