Independiente boss overjoyed by 'dream' Copa Sudamericana success

Independiente became the second club to win the Copa Sudamericana twice, much to the delight of manager Ariel Holan.

Independiente players celebrate their Copa Sudamericana success.   -  Getty Images

Independiente coach Ariel Holan was overcome by emotion after leading his hometown club to Copa Sudamericana glory over Brazilian outfit Flamengo. Ezequiel Barco's 39th minute penalty cancelled out Lucas Paqueta's opener to secure a 1-1 draw at the Maracana and 3-2 aggregate victory in the two-legged final of South America's second-tier club competition.

No side has lifted the Sudamericana on more occasions than Independiente, though Boca Juniors has also triumphed twice, while the Avellaneda-based club's seven Copa Libertadores titles are unparalleled.

'Very happy'

Holan, a former field hockey coach, was in tears after seeing his side hold on at Brazil's most famous venue. "Independiente is my club. I love it with all my soul," the 57-year-old told broadcaster Fox Sports. "It is a dream and I do not want to wake up. [The Maracana] is a mythical stadium of world football. Flamengo are a team with huge experience. I trusted my players a lot and made it clear that we could be champions. I am very happy."

VIDEO: Independiente lifts its second Copa Suda

Flamengo boss Reinaldo Rueda, appointed this year after leading Atletico Nacional to the Libertadores glory and the Sudamericana final in 2016, rued the unavailability of experienced pair Diego Alves and Paolo Guerrero, the latter handed a one-year ban by FIFA this month for failing a doping test.

The result marked the Rio de Janeiro giant's second successive final defeat following its penalty shoot-out loss to Cruzeiro in the Copa do Brasil in September. "Unfortunately, we let another opportunity pass," Rueda told reporters at his post-match press conference.

"Our team had many difficulties along the way and, despite having players of personality, we lost vital players [who are] important for our aspirations. We missed the experience of players like Guerrero and Diego Alves."

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