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The Parana underdogs won on the night, but the Rio giants held on to lift the trophy for the first time and book a return to the Copa Libertadores

Vasco da Gama have won the 2011 Copa do Brasil on away goals after a thrilling 3-2 defeat to Coritiba in the second-leg of the final on Wednesday.

Heading into Wednesday night's conclusion to an enchanting, upset-high competition, the positive was that a new name would be etched on the trophy; the probable was that it would be Vasco da Gama's and not Coritiba's.

Ricardo Gomes' men not only carried a one-goal cushion into the second leg at the Couto Pereira, but they also had the advantage of having not conceded in Rio de Janeiro.

If they scored an away goal – and that's what Vasco's form on their travels suggested they would – then their hosts would need an unanswered three to become champions.

And three is what Coritiba netted in a thrilling climax.

Unfortunately for Marcelo Oliveira's men, their guests netted two through Alecsandro and Eder Luis, defended valiantly in the last 25 minutes, and seized silverware on away goals.

Vasco, whom semi-final elimination had befallen six times and final heartache once, were finally Copa do Brasil winners. Furthermore, the maiden South American champions, who repeated the feat in 1998, booked a return to the Libertadores for the first time since 2001.

“Some people told me they had dreamed about me scoring the winning goal,” explained a euphoric Eder Luis post-match.

“I believed it, but it was not easy. The trophy would have been in good hands with both teams. But we had brilliant supporters who got behind and inspired us. Vasco deserved it, we fought until the end. The players had been dreaming about this title for a long time. It was a final that will go down in history.”

Coritiba, who kicked off without their suspended forward Anderson Aquino, put their guests on the back foot from the outset.

Attacking midfielder Rafinha looked up for it; Bill began putting himself about in attack. But despite two early corners and a Jonas effort hitting the crossbar, which further animated an already-boisterous home crowd, Vasco broke the deadlock from a wonderful counter-attack.

Diego Souza's deft touch with the outside of his right boot sent Eder Luis racing into space down the right, and the hypersonic No.7's cut-back was slotted home by Alecsandro, who had cleverly peeled into an unmarked position seven yards out.

But although Vasco probed for the game's second goal, Coritiba got it. Davi looped a cross into the box, Jonas unselfishly headed it over goalkeeper Fernando Prass and back across goal, and Bill's hunger for the ball afforded him a simple nod home.

Coritiba were, by now, in the territorial ascendancy and their adventure was further rewarded on the stroke of half-time. After some uncertainty among the Vasco defenders, the ball fell to Rafinha, whose shot was parried by Fernando Prass. The rebound nevertheless fell to Davi, who dispatched it with aplomb to send the Parana side in 2-1 at the break.

Vasco may be nicknamed 'O Time da Virada' (The Comeback Team), but Coritiba began the second half threatening to sting them with a taste of their own medicine. However, 12 minutes after the restart, that fightback became highly improbable once again.

Eder Luis controlled the ball and struck a 25-yard shot down the middle of the goal. A comfortable save appeared on the cards for Edson Bastos, but the ball somehow crept past him to make it 2-2 on the night and leave the Campeonato Brasileiro 1985 winners needing two goals without reply to deny their more illustrious opponents an unforgettable night in Curitiba.

One half of that requirement arrived on 65 minutes, however. When the ball fell at the feet on Willian, bouncing and with two adversaries in close attendance, few expected the 22-year-old defensive midfielder, an alien to score-sheets, to even try his luck. That is exactly what he did, though, and the result was a sumptuous volley into the roof of the net.

It set the scene for a dramatic finish. Coritiba, predictably, threw everything forward. Leonardo had a penalty appeal turned down, Anderson Martins made one heroic sliding block to deny Bill, and Fernando Prass dealt with repeated crosses into his cramped penalty area.

At the other end, Eder Luis sped past two markers and teed up Alecsandro for a wayward piledriver, but it was a moment of brief respite for Vasco in the final 10 minutes.

Despite incessant pressure, however, Coritiba just couldn't find the goal their work-rate deserved. Marcos Aurelio flashed a volley wide and Jonas failed to find the target from a great position, though he was flagged offside.

And even though five additional minutes were played, five goals would remain on the goal count on an electrifying night in Curitiba. It was one that belonged to Vasco da Gama.



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congrats to Vasco!! :star:

btw, Ricardo Gomes will go to the middle east since he agrees to become the new Saudi NT manager for 9m euro. i think it`s gonna be till the end of the next WC in Brazil.
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