Independiente suffer penalty heartbreak against Grêmio in Recopa (VIDEO)

After 210 minutes of football and Independiente playing 140 of those with ten men, there was still nothing between Grêmio and El Rojo and so the 2018 Recopa ultimately came down to Martín Benítez’s missed penalty in the Arena do Grêmio.

One week after Independiente were left to rue the VAR decision to send off Emmanuel Gigliotti during the first half of the 1-1 first leg draw, the same ill-discipline and use of technology came to haunt Ariel Holan’s side.

Copa Libertadores champions Grêmio had enjoyed the better of the first half on their own patch with Independiente looking to play on the counter but the tie was once again swung in the favour of the Brazilians minutes before the break. Somewhat controversially referee Enrique Cáceres failed to award Independiente a free-kick for a clear offside but as play continued and Grêmio attacked, Fernando Amorebieta left a boot in the chest of Luan while clearing the ball.

After a lengthy delay, Cáceres went to the television screens and eventually brandished a red card. Amorebieta had already saved Independiente with a goal-line clearance and El Rojo had survived Luan missing a chance that would normally have found the net but plans of taking the game to Grêmio after the break went out the window with the sending off.

Grêmio dominated the second half but when they did find a way through Independiente’s defence they found goalkeeper Martín Campaña in tremendous form.

Extra-time brought chances at both ends with Jael crashing a header against the crossbar and Nicolás Figal somehow failing to poke in from yards out but still goalless after the additional 30 minutes, penalties were needed.

Both sides were faultless in their execution and so when Martín Benítez stepped up to take Independiente’s fifth only for Marcelo Grohe to deflect it up onto the bar and out, Grêmio were champions.

Heartbreak for El Rojo but plenty of positives to take for Ariel Holan, who can have nothing but admiration for the way in which his side battled against the Libertadores champions.

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