BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – River Plate won the Copa Sudamericana title Wednesday after downing Colombian club Atletico Nacional 2-0 at home in the second leg of the final.
Gabriel Mercado and German Pezzella both scored with headers to give the famous Buenos Aires club its first international title in 17 years.
The two teams drew 1-1 in the first leg last week in Latin America’s second most important club tournament after the Copa Libertadores.
“Thanks to the players for playing the game the way it should be played,” said River coach Marcelo Gallardo, a former River player. “I offer a toast to the team. I feel very proud for having come to this club, for having started as a player here and grown as a person.”
Mercado opened the scoring in the 54th minute and Pezzella sealed the win 10 minutes later. After that, the Colombians seemed to run out of energy, sensing the victory was River’s.
River Plate defeated Buenos Aires arch-rival Boca Juniors in the semifinals, making the victory in the final even sweeter.
River can win the Argentine league title on Sunday in the final round, but trails Racing Club by two points. The two top teams do not play each other and a victory by Racing will guarantee it the first-division title, denying River a double.