LDU triumphs over Fortaleza in a penalty shootout in the final and clinches the 2023 Copa Sudamericana. After a 1-1 draw in regular time and extra time, the Ecuadorian team relied on the brilliance of Domínguez, who saved three penalty kicks in the shootout.
LDU secured their second Copa Sudamericana title, once again against a Brazilian team. In 2009, their victim was Fluminense.
Fortaleza: João Ricardo; Tinga, Brítez, Titi e Bruno Pacheco; Caio Alexandre (Lucas Sasha), Zé Welison (Thiago Galhardo) e Pochettino (Pedro Augusto); Marinho (Machuca), Lucero (Romero) e Guilherme (Pikachu).
LDU: Domínguez; Quinteros, Ade, Rodríguez e Quiñónez (Ramírez); Martínez, Piovi, González (Alvarado) e Jhojan Julio; Ibarra (Alzugaray) e Paolo Guerrero.
Fortaleza 1×1 LDU
Fortaleza and LDU delivered a thrilling spectacle at the Domingo Burgueño Miguel stadium in Maldonado, Uruguay. With a capacity of 25,000 fans, the final venue was close to its maximum attendance, featuring a fantastic display by the Brazilians with mosaics, flags, and strong support.
As the ball started rolling, the first half saw the teams sizing each other up and creating few clear-cut chances.
At the 8th minute, Fortaleza took a short free-kick, and Pochettino advanced before crossing into the box. After a scramble, the ball narrowly missed the post.
At the 17th minute, Lucero played a well-timed through ball for Marinho with pace. The forward entered the penalty area, evaded two defenders but delayed his shot. The ball eventually fell to Guilherme, who took a shot but was blocked.
At the 21st minute, LDU delivered a free-kick into the box, and Fortaleza’s defense cleared it. Quintero attempted a header, but it went over the goal.
As the second half began, the game picked up in intensity, and both teams started creating more dangerous opportunities.
Right at the start of the second half, in the first minute, Jhojan Julio received a long pass, outmuscled Brítez, and found himself one-on-one with João Ricardo, who made a great save.
In the very next minute, at 2′, Fortaleza responded and took the lead. The play began from their defensive half, with Caio Alexandre passing to Pochettino, who went to the byline and delivered a low cross into the near post. Lucero anticipated the defense and slotted it into the back of the net, sending the Tricolor fans into ecstasy in Uruguay.
LDU leveled the score at the 10th minute. Alzugaray received a pass on the right wing, dribbled past Bruno Pacheco and Caio Alexandre, and struck a left-footed shot into the top corner. There was some controversy in the initial encounter between Alzugaray and Bruno Pacheco, with claims of a foul by the forward, but the referee allowed play to continue.
At the 20th minute, Fortaleza won the ball in the attacking half and quickly set up Yago Pikachu. He took a shot from the edge of the area, and Domínguez made the save.
At the 22nd minute, Marinho took a free-kick from the left wing, Bruno Pacheco deflected it, and the goalkeeper safely held onto the ball.
At the 45th minute, Martínez fired a shot from outside the box, and João Ricardo stretched out to tip it over for a corner.
With the match still level, it headed into extra time, which lacked much excitement.
In the 10th minute of the first half of extra time, Tinga headed after a corner kick but sent it over the crossbar.
In the very first minute of the second half, Sasha played it out to Pikachu on the right, who attempted a cross. Silvio Romero and Galhardo came very close but couldn’t connect with the ball.
The grand final was decided by a penalty shootout. Guerrero took the first kick for LDU, but João Ricardo made the save. Galhardo and Pikachu converted for Fortaleza, as did Alzugaray for the Ecuadorians.
Maurício Martínez converted his penalty, but Silvio Romero missed his. Julio and Tinga then made successful kicks. Alvarado and Pedro Augusto missed their penalties, and finally, Piovi converted while Brítez was denied in Domínguez’s third save, securing the Copa Sudamericana title for LDU.
Photo: Ernesto Ryan / Getty Images
Written by Henry Miller.