Quintero stuns Boca Juniors as River Plate conquer Copa Libertadores

A moment of brilliance from Juan Fernando Quintero was needed to finally separate River Plate from fierce Buenos Aires rivals Boca Juniors.

The diminutive Colombian unleashed an unstoppable 109th-minute strike that pinged off the bottom of the crossbar and Gonzalo "Pity" Martinez buried his club's third into an empty goal, sealing a fourth Copa Libertadores title for Los Millonarios, who defeated Boca 5-3 on aggregate.

With both teams almost assuredly needing penalties to decide a winner after weeks of controversy and dubious scheduling decisions, Quintero, who replaced Leonardo Ponzio in the 58th minute, settled the contest ahead of schedule with a venomous left-footed effort from just beyond Boca Juniors' 18-yard box.

It was a fitting end to a match that seemed destined to run for eternity after CONMEBOL struggled to get it underway in the first place.

Yet, Los Xeneizes refused to bow out quietly in the final 10 minutes.

Down to 10 men after Wilmer Barrios' second yellow for a two-footed challenge, Boca nearly drew themselves level at the death but Leonardo Jara's first-time volley battered off the outside of the post and harmlessly trickled away for a corner.

With Boca Juniors goalkeeper Esteban Andrada pushed up high to attempt to capitalize on the set-piece, however, River Plate put the game away for good on the ensuing counterattack, as Martinez calmly settled the tie with little resistance.

Quintero's impact on the match wasn't limited to just his extra-time stunner. The former Porto midfielder was also the catalyst for River Plate's opening goal, organizing a fluid string of one-two passes that ultimately found Lucas Pratto, who negated Dario Benedetto's opener from the first half.

As punishment for River Plate fans pelting their opponent's bus two weeks ago, the second leg took place across the Atlantic at the Santiago Bernabeu in Spain, Real Madrid's stadium. River was originally supposed to host the second leg at their Estadio Monumental with only their fans in attendance, but lost that privilege as a result of the attacks.

While Sunday's result was as imposing as they come, River's victory may not be entirely set in stone just yet.

According to the New York Times' Rory Smith, Boca's appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport is still pending. A favorable ruling in their favor could still strip their rivals of their fourth Copa Libertadores and simultaneously hand Boca their seventh by default.

Quintero stuns Boca Juniors as River Plate conquer Copa Libertadores
  Got something to say? Leave a comment below!
Daily Newsletter
Get the latest trending sports news daily in your inbox