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Copa Sudamericana 2003

Cienciano Campeón

Cienciano upsets River 1-0 in Copa final

19/12/2003 - AREQUIPA, Peru (AP) -- Cienciano's Carlos Lubo sent a free kick through a wall of River Plate defenders to upset the Argentine club and win the Copa Sudamericana Friday, delivering the nation its first-ever international club title.

The Paraguayan defender's right-footed rocket came in the 77th minute of play, sending River goalkeeper Franco Costanzo diving to his left -- and a stadium of underdog Cienciano supporters, "the Red Fury," to their feet.

A humiliating defeat for River, the victory made instant national soccer heroes out of the underdog Cienciano club, a small-time team from Peru's provinces.

River opened strong, dominating the first period and surprising Cienciano with star striker Marcelo Salas attacking up the center and Maximiliano Lopez coming in from the sides.

River's Marcelo Gallardo got the first solid shot on goal in the 23rd minute, followed by dangerous attempts by Daniel Montenegro two minutes later and Luis Gonzalez with two minutes remaining in the first period.

River was unable to find the net, however, and Cienciano ran the Argentines into the ground in the second period. The Peruvian club ended the match with nine players after the expulsion of midfielders Juan Carlos La Rosa and Julio Garcia.

A humble club from the provinces, Cienciano surprised -- and united -- Peruvian soccer fans by upsetting Chile's Universidad Catolica, Brazil's Santos and Nacional of Colombia to reach the South American club cup finals.

Meanwhile, River had hoped to rescue its disappointing season by clinching the Sudamericana title after a lackluster performance in Argentina's Apertura championship.

A loss at the hands of Cienciano came as especially humiliating for River after archrival Boca Juniors won the Intercontinental Cup on Sunday, defeating AC Milan in Japan.

The clubs played the final match of the home-and-away series in the Andean city of Arequipa instead of Cienciano's high mountain hometown -- the former Inca capital of Cuzco -- because the Peruvian club's stadium did not meet size requirements. The first meeting ended in a 3-3 draw on Dec. 10 in Buenos Aires.

But Cienciano still had altitude -- 2,390 meters (7,840 feet) above sea level in Arequipa, compared with 3,326 meters (10,900 feet) in Cuzco -- on its side.


Lineups:

CIENCIANO: Oscar Ibanez, Alessandro Moran, Santiago Acasiete, Carlos Lugo, Giuliano Portilla, Juan Carlos La Rosa, Juan Carlos Bazalar (Miguel Llanos-93), Paolo Maldonado (Cesar Ccahuantico-57), Julio Garcia, Rodrigo Saraz, German Carty.

RIVER PLATE: Franco Costanzo, Oscar Ahumada (Luis Ludena-85), Horacio Ameli, Eduardo Tuzzio, Eduardo Coudet, Javier Mascherano, Luis Gonzalez (Alejandro Dominguez-75), Marcelo Gallardo, Maximiliano Lopez, Marcelo Salas (Daniel Montenegro-16).

Referee: Gustavo Mendez (Uruguay)