- Gremio win the Copa Libertadores for a third time
- First Brazilian side to lift the trophy on Argentinian soil in 54 years
- Will play Pachuca or Wydad Casablanca in semi-finals at UAE 2017
Gremio fans were out in force this week as their side secured the Copa Libertadores title with a 2-1 win away at Lanus. Some 4,000 of them celebrated with the team in Buenos Aires, while thousands more hit the streets of Porto Alegre to hail a victory that saw the Brazilian side book their place as South America’s representatives at the FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2017.
After winning the first leg 1-0, Gremio underlined their status as the competition’s outstanding side by outplaying Lanus in the return. In doing so, they joined Sao Paulo and Santos as the most successful Brazilian sides in the history of the competition with three wins apiece, Gremio’s previous triumphs having come in 1983 and 1995.
In terms of Copa Libertadores wins recorded by Brazilian teams, O Tricolor now lie second overall. With 87 victories in 17 appearances, they have moved past Cruzeiro (86 in 15) and stand just behind Sao Paulo (90 in 18).
The hero of the club’s victorious 1983 campaign, coach Renato Gaucho has put together a formidable side, the stars of which are Marcelo Grohe in goal, talented midfielder Arthur and in-form front men Luan and Lucas Barrios.
Though Lanus striker Jose Sand ended the competition as its leading scorer with nine goals, the Gremio strike duo accounted for 14 of their side’s 25 goals, with Luan claiming eight of them and Barrios six.
Runners-up Lanus disposed of two recent champions on their impressive run to the final: 2014 winners San Lorenzo de Almagro in the last 16, and River Plate, the side that succeeded them, in the semis. On both occasions Lanus lost the first leg on the road before overturning the deficit at home, a task beyond them against Gremio.
The newly crowned South American champions will play their opening game of UAE 2017 on 12 December, against the winner of the match between Mexico’s Pachuca and Morocco’s Wydad Casablanca.
*Highlights *• Gremio are the first Brazilian side to win the Libertadores on Argentinian soil in 54 years. Santos were the previous team to do so, in 1963, when they beat Boca Juniors at La Bombonera.
• The champions were unbeaten in the away legs of their knockout ties, recording three wins and a draw.
• Luan named player of the tournament.
10 - The number of wins recorded by Gremio in the competition, three more than Botafogo and River Plate, the next best teams.
Did you know?
O Tricolor will be taking part in their first FIFA Club World Cup, having twice appeared in the Intercontinental Cup, in 1983 and 1995. In the first of those two matches, they beat Hamburg 2-1 courtesy of a brace from current coach Renato Gaucho. In the second they lost to Ajax on penalties following a goalless draw.
What they said *“There’s nothing better than winning a title and being voted the player of the tournament. I’d like to thank all the coaches who’ve been here and who’ve been important to me.”
*Gremio forward Luan
“Only we know what we went through to become the champions of South America. These fans deserve it. We all deserve it. I want to thank all the critics. I don’t hold a grudge against anyone. When I was thinking about packing it in, a lot of people came and lifted me up. I dreamed about us parading in a fire engine in Porto Alegre.”
Gremio goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe