River, Flamengo set for showdown in Copa Libertadores final
LIMA, NOV 22: Argentine holders River Plate and Brazil's Flamengo are set for an all-or-nothing showdown in the final of the Copa Libertadores on Saturday, the first final in the competition's 60-year history to be decided over a single match.
River are chasing their fifth Copa after wins in 1986, 1996, 2015 and last year. A win on Saturday would make it a hat-trick for their talismanic coach Marcelo Gallardo, who won as a player in 1996.
Gallardo's well-organized and workmanlike team will pose a stiff challenge for the Brazilians, whose Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus has put together a fearsome attacking side since taking over at the Rio de Janeiro club last June.
Jesus was giving nothing away after arriving here Thursday, holding team training at a Peruvian football federation pitch behind a wall of black tarpaulin, specially erected to keep the press at bay.
Flamengo left-back Filipe Luis says River are favourites.
"We're facing the best team of the moment, the Copa champions, a team used to playing in finals in recent years," said the 34-year-old Brazilian international, once of Atletico Madrid.
"River have been under a lot of pressure and come through everything," he said.
"We, on the other hand, are a new team, with players who arrived at the beginning of the year, a group with a lot of quality, believing in our coach's ideas, but one that is still getting to know each other."
Despite being Brazil's most popular team, Flamengo have won the Copa Libertadores only once, back in 1981 with the Brazilian great Zico in the side. -AFP