Relegated Patronato made history on Sunday with a shock win in the Copa Argentina 2022 final.
The Paraná-based side saw off Talleres de Córdoba 1-0 in Sunday night's final at the Malvinas Argentinas Stadium in Mendoza to take the trophy, recording their first official title at a national level.
The victory, played out before a crowd of some 35,000 fans, will be of comfort to the club’s supporters in the wake of the side’s relegation from Argentina’s top flight.
Patronato, based 400 kilometres northwest of the capital in Entre Ríos Province, will drop into the second tier next season. Despite a good 2022 league campaign, in which they finished 10th in the 28-team division, their results over the last two seasons means they drop down.
Sunday’s cup win came thanks to Tiago Banega, who scored the only goal of the night in the 77th minute when he over-ran the ball and leaped into a tackle – a ricochet with a defender looped the ball high into the air and into the top corner, past Talleres’ keeper Alan Aguerre.
The win also delivers Patronato an additional prize, as they are now qualified for the group stage of the Copa Libertadores 2023, where they will be joined by Boca Juniors, Racing, River Plate, Argentinos Juniors and Huracán, who will have to compete in the tournament’s preliminary stages.
"We always believed in ourselves, in what we did, in what we trained for. This team never threw in the towel, we fought until the last second. That's why this is a historic achievement," said defender Carlos Quintana, one of Patronato's top players.
Patronato will play in the Libertadores for the first time in history, and will be the second Argentine team to do so from the second division, three years after Tigre entered as winners of the Copa Superliga 2019.