• Buenos Aires (Argentina), Dec 7: A stunning second-half strike from Maximiliano Meza earned Argentina’s Independiente a 2-1 victory over Brazilian giants Flamengo in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana football match final.

    Former Brazil international centre-back Rever gave the visitors the lead at Estadio Libertadores in Greater Buenos Aires with a bullet header after a curling Miguel Trauco free-kick on Wednesday, reports Xinhua news agency.

    The hosts equalized by Emanuel Gigliotti, who combined with Martin Benitez before lashing a first time shot into the bottom corner.

    Meza gave the hosts the lead just after halftime with a goal of the highest quality. The 24-year-old latched on to an Ezequiel Barco cross with a sublime left-footed volley from the edge of the penalty area that left goalkeeper Cesar with no chance.

    Flamengo coach Reinaldo Rueda introduced Real Madrid-bound teenager Vinicius Junior with 20 minutes left in pursuit of an equalizer. But despite dominating the latter stages, the visitors were unable to breach Independiente’s defence for the second time.

    The decisive second leg will be played at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro. The winner over both legs will earn the right to play in next year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s top club competition.

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    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

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