Pope Francis` favourites San Lorenzo lift Libertadores Cup
Buenos Aires: San Lorenzo, the Argentine club who can number Pope Francis among their loyal supporters, lifted the Libertadores Cup for the first time in their history on Wednesday when they beat Nacional Asuncion of Paraguay in the final.
A goal from the penalty spot in the 36th minute by Nestor Ortigoza was enough to give San Lorenzo a 1-0 victory in the second leg, having held Nacional to a 1-1 draw in the first leg in Paraguay last week.
But the home defence, well-marshalled by Mauro Cetto, had to withstand a Paraguayan onslaught and were somewhat fortunate to hold out for victory.
The Paraguayans came to attack and as early as the first minute carved out a scoring chance through Derlis Orue, whose shot cannoned off the post.
The only goal, when it came, was against the run of play, a penalty awarded for handball against defender Ramon Coronel.
Ortigoza made no mi8stake with his spot-kick and sent the 40,000 capacity crowd wild in celebration of what was undoubtedly the most important goal in the club`s 106-year history.
Nacional dominated the second half, but squandered clearcut scoring chances through Marcos Riveros in the 65th minute and striker Freddy Bareiro 12 minutes from time.
It had been a different story in the first match when San Lorenzo had the lion`s share of play and only conceded an equaliser in the third minute of stoppage time at the end of the game.
Pope Francis will have an early chance to admire the silverware at close quarters as the Argentine club`s vice-president, TV presenter Marcelo Tinelli, announced that a San Lorenzo delegation would be travelling to the Vatican next week to show off the trophy.
The Pope`s thoughts were clearly with his favourite club on the historic occasion as, before he flew out for a visit to South Korea on Wednesday, he declared: "Today is a special day."
The victory was a second Libertadores triumph for coach Edgardo Bauza, who steered Ecuadorian club LDU Quito to the cup in 2008.
After the match Bauza said: "We played a very poor first half, the team were very nervous, tense, they were affected by the expectations of the crowd, but luckily we won."
San Lorenzo will now represent South America in the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco in December.
San Lorenzo`s triumph ends a five-year stranglehold on the cup by Brazilian clubs, and was the 23rd time in the history of the competition that an Argentine club had lifted the trophy. They are the seventh club from Argentina to write their names on the silverware.