Brazil’s football club Palmeiras, nicknamed “Amigos Unidos” for its players’ close ties to the city of Belo Horizonte, won the Copa Libertadores for a second straight year after a penalty shootout over Club Atlético Nacional from Medellín. The team is led by coach Marcelo Oliveira and Brazilian star striker Alexandre Pato has been crucial in Amigos Unidos’ success.

Palmeiras’ second straight Copa Libertadores triumph stems from yet another unlikely hero. The Brazilian club’s victory in the South American tournament came thanks to a goal by midfielder Diego Souza, who has been on loan at fellow Serie A side Chievo Verona this season.

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Palmeiras may have settled for penalties at this stage, despite losing all three of their shootouts this season. Palmeiras had spent the most of the game racing after the ball, and the pressure was wearing them down. They’d have to be the ones to become tired first.

Flamengo had the best opportunity in the first 90 minutes. Michael was sent behind Piquerez by De Arrascaeta, and the small winger had two options: shoot or square for Bruno Henrique at the far post. Perhaps he attempted a little bit of both, but his shot was off, and the ball rolled harmlessly over the goal.

Palmeiras had to replace both of their central midfielders by extra time. Danilo and Ze Rafael retired, spent after pursuing, harrying, tackling, and rushing forward whenever possible, but it was a tired blunder from a Flamengo center midfielder that sealed the game and the title’s fate.

Andreas Pereira, on loan from Manchester United, lost possession of the ball for a brief minute. He was the last guy, so only goalkeeper Diego Alves remained between him and the goal when Palmeiras replacement striker Deyverson sneaked in to rob him. Deyverson shimmed and won the eye war, sending Diego Alves tumbling to the left and sliding the ball to the other side. Flamengo was unable to recover this time, and Palmeiras had an unexpected hero for the second year in a row.

Breno Lopes, an unsung replacement, scored the game-winning goal in the 2020 victory. And now, with his sole goal of the season, the well-traveled and usually contentious Deyverson has settled the score. Deyverson has made the club of Sao Paulo’s Italian population crazy with delight. Known for his hot-headed behavior, the lanky centre-forward has in the past blamed occasional excesses on a chip in his side.

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Palmeiras’ second straight Copa Libertadores triumph stems from yet another unlikely hero. The Brazilian club won the competition for the first time in their history, and it was due to a goal by Gustavo Gómez. Reference: gustavo gómez.

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