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Fluminense win first Copa Libertadores, Milan continue winless run


John Kennedy of Fluminense celebrates after scoring his team's second goal during the Copa Libertadores final between Brazil's Fluminense and Argentina's Boca Juniors at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 4, 2023. /CFP

John Kennedy of Fluminense celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Copa Libertadores final between Brazil’s Fluminense and Argentina’s Boca Juniors at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 4, 2023. /CFP

John Kennedy of Fluminense celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal during the Copa Libertadores final between Brazil’s Fluminense and Argentina’s Boca Juniors at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 4, 2023. /CFP

Brazil’s Fluminense beat Argentina’s Boca Juniors 2-1 in extra time to win the Copa Libertadores for the first time thanks to John Kennedy’s 99th-minute goal on Saturday.

Argentine forward German Cano gave Fluminense the lead with a 36th minute strike but Luis Advincula equalized for Jorge Almiron’s side in the second half with a long-range effort at Rio’s Maracana Stadium.

Substitute Kennedy volleyed home from the edge of the area in the 99th minute of an ill-tempered final after the match finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.

Kennedy’s unstoppable shot gave Fluminense the spoils in extra time, though two minutes later the striker was sent off for excessive celebrations that got him a second yellow card.

The 21-year-old Kennedy – named by his history-loving father after the 35th President of the United States – had been a decisive influence for Fluminense after being brought on as a substitute for playmaker Ganso 10 minutes from the end of normal time.

Fluminense's Argentine forward German Cano (C) raises the trophy after winning the Copa Libertadores final at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 4, 2023. /CFP

Fluminense’s Argentine forward German Cano (C) raises the trophy after winning the Copa Libertadores final at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 4, 2023. /CFP

Fluminense’s Argentine forward German Cano (C) raises the trophy after winning the Copa Libertadores final at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, November 4, 2023. /CFP

“I recovered the ball for my son Lorenzo. I can tell him now that I am champion of the Libertadores,” said Cano, whose 13th goal this season in the competition was as many as the total scored by all of Boca’s players combined.

“I want to dedicate this title to my family, the team, our director and the fans. It was a dream that we wanted to achieve since the first game,” he added.

Fluminense’s Fernando Diniz, who is also Brazil’s interim coach, finally delivered the elusive trophy – the equivalent to Europe’s Champions League – for a team who lost the 2008 final.

“We had a lot of chances today but in the end we failed to capitalize on the opportunity to take advantage of the extra man,” said Boca goalkeeper Sergio Romero.

“I think we did a great cup (run), we thank the people and we regret not giving them a joy today.”

Olivier Giroud (R) of AC Milan reacts during their Serie A match with Udinese at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, November 4, 2023. /CFP

Olivier Giroud (R) of AC Milan reacts during their Serie A match with Udinese at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, November 4, 2023. /CFP

Olivier Giroud (R) of AC Milan reacts during their Serie A match with Udinese at the San Siro stadium in Milan, Italy, November 4, 2023. /CFP

In the Italian Serie A, lackluster AC Milan lost 1-0 to lowly Udinese at San Siro on Saturday, extending their winless run to four games in all competitions and leaving them six points adrift of top spot.

Udinese’s Roberto Pereyra converted the decisive penalty for the visitors in the 62nd minute after Milan had dominated the first half but failed to put away their chances.

Stefano Pioli’s faltering side lost 1-0 at home to Juventus and drew 2-2 at champions Napoli in their previous two league outings either side of a 3-0 loss to Paris St Germain in the Champions League.

The latest defeat leaves Milan in third place on 22 points from 11 games and losing touch with leaders Inter Milan, who beat Atalanta 2-1 away earlier on Saturday.

Udinese, who beat visiting Milan 3-1 in their last encounter in March, have won back-to-back games against the Rossoneri in Serie A for the first time since 2017.

Harry Kane of Bayern Munich shows three fingers for his hattrick during the Bundesliga match in Dortmund, Germany, November 4, 2023. /CFP

Harry Kane of Bayern Munich shows three fingers for his hattrick during the Bundesliga match in Dortmund, Germany, November 4, 2023. /CFP

Harry Kane of Bayern Munich shows three fingers for his hattrick during the Bundesliga match in Dortmund, Germany, November 4, 2023. /CFP

In the German Bundesliga, Harry Kane scored a hat-trick as Bayern Munich thrashed Borussia Dortmund 4-0 away on Saturday, closing the gap with leaders Bayer Leverkusen to two points.

Bayern captain Manuel Neuer lauded his striker, telling German TV “that’s his experience, he brought it with him to the Bundesliga from England and he shows us it week after week.”

“We’ve got some quick guys up front and with them we really hurt Dortmund.”

Stung by a midweek German Cup elimination by third-division Saarbruecken, Leverkusen’s 3-2 win at Hoffenheim on Saturday meant injury-hit Bayern were five points behind Xabi Alonso’s side at kickoff.

The visitors however crafted the perfect response, scoring two goals in the opening nine minutes to grab a hold on the match.

Bayern coach Thomas Tuchel said after the match “we had confidence because we have quality” despite the Cup defeat.

“We knew what we could do, and we had enough confidence to put a plan in place.”

(With input from agencies)



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