Pumas Robbed in Controversial Loss to Boca Juniors in Copa Sudamerica Championship Match

BUENOS AIRES Argentina (AP) - National team goalie Roberto Abbondanzieri was the center of controversy last night as he caught two penalty kicks and converted one after somehow avoiding being ejected from last night's Copa Sudamerica.

Abbondanzieri led Argentine side Boca Juniors to defeat Mexico's Pumas 4-3 in a penalty shootout Sunday to win the Sudamericana continental soccer tournament its third cup this year.

Regulation time ended in a 1-1 draw with goals by Martin Palermo for Boca in the first half and by Bruno Marioni with a penalty kick in the second. The first leg in Mexico City also ended in a 1-1 draw.

The title crowned a fantastic year for Boca in the storied club's centennial. Boca became the second Argentine team after River Plate to win two titles in one semester and the fourth in the world to win 15 international trophies. The other three are Argentina's Independiente Spain's Real Madrid and Italy's Milan.

Earlier in the week Boca won its 21st national championship and in July it won the Recopa Sudamericana.

On a windy night cheered on by 50000 roaring chanting spectators Boca seized possession of the ball practically from the beginning with long passes from midfield to forwards Palermo and Rodrigo Palacio.

In the 31st minute Federico Insua sent a free kick to the middle of the penalty zone and Palermo rising in the air kicked it in with his heel.

In the second half Pumas mounted an attack and the equalizer came in the 54th by way of a penalty kick by Marioni after Boca's Rolando Schiavi stopped the ball with his hand.

Seven minutes later a long shot by Pumas' Leandro Augusto bounced off the crossbar and in a swift counterattack by Boca Insua's shot went barely wide.

In the 73rd Daniel Bilos headed a cross by Pablo Ledesma but Pumas goalie Sergio Bernal cleared the ball. Five minutes later a Pumas defender cleared a header by Rodrigo Palacio from the goal line.

However many fans believe that it was referee Carlos Amarilla who handed the game to Boca. With Pumas players mounting a breakaway on the home side's goal goalkeeper Roberto Abondanzieri came out of his box and knocked away the ball from a Pumas player with his hand taking away a sure scoring opportunity.

Although by the rules of the game this would be grounds for immediate dismissal Amarilla in ironic symbolism to his name showed the Boca goalie only a yellow card instead of the required red and Abondanzieri was allowed to stay in the game (and eventually take the match-winning PK.)

Boca's last chance came in injury time when a shot by Marcelo Delgado smashed against a goalpost.

In the penalty shootout Abbondanzieri caught Leandro Augusto's and Joaquin Beltran's shots and Gerardo Galindo smashed his against a goalpost. Gonzalo Pineda Martin Cardetti and Marioni scored for the Mexican team.

Bernal caught shots by Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Palermo while Insua Schiavi Marcelo Delgado and Abbondanzieri scored.


BOCA: Roberto Abondanzieri Hugo Ibarra Rolando Schiavi Daniel Diaz Juan Krupoviesa Sebastian Battaglia Fernando Gago (70th Pablo Ledesma) Daniel Bilos (84th Guillermo Barros Schelotto) Federico Insua Rodrigo Palacio (86th Marcelo Delgado) Martin Palermo. Coach: Alfio Basile.

PUMAS: Sergio Bernal Israel Castro Joaquin Beltran Dario Veron Gonzalo Pineda Marco Palacios Gerardo Galindo Leandro Augusto Ailton da Silva (46th Iniguez) Joaquin Botero (79th Martin Cardetti) Bruno Marioni. Coach: Miguel Espana.

Referee: Carlos Amarilla (Paraguay).