Copa Libertadores 2015: River Plate triumph against Mexican side Tigres

    (CNN)From relegation for the first time in the club's 110-year history to winning South America's most prestigious competition -- and all in the space of four years.

    Argentina's River Plate claimed their third Copa Libertadores title on Wednesday with a 3-0 aggregate win over Mexican side Tigres.
    It's a script that wouldn't look out of place in a Hollywood blockbuster and River Plate's meteoric rise from Argentina's second division to winning the Copa Libertadores -- the continent's answer to Europe's Champions League -- was thanks largely to a few leading men.
      Club legend Fernando Cavenaghi, who announced he was leaving the Buenos Aires club after Wednesday's final -- it's rumored he's heading to the MLS in the U.S. -- returned for a second spell in 2011 and took a substantial pay cut to help fire the team back into the first division at the first attempt.

      Los goleadores de la final contra Tigres #VamosRiver #CopaLibertadores

      A photo posted by Club Atlético River Plate (@carpoficial) on

      Then there was manager Marcelo Gallardo, a former River star, who became only the seventh man to win a Libertadores title as both a player and a coach.
      "I'm incredibly happy for the fans who are enjoying this party," said Gallardo. "And we are going for more."
      Nineteen years ago Gallardo, who is now 39, was part of the team that won the club's last Libertadores, but on Wednesday he had to manage his team from the stands after receiving a suspension following the first leg of the final which had ended in a 0-0 draw.
      On arrival at River's Estadio Monumental, Tigres were greeted with a traditional Argentine welcome of a deluge of ticker-tape, as clouds of smoke from a firework display and flares diffused across the pitch.
      Tigres strikers Rafael Sobis and Andre-Pierre Gignac missed early chances to put the visitors ahead and River took full advantage as goals from Lucas Alario, Carlos Sanchez and Ramiro Funes Mori sealed the home team's win.
      River's comfortable margin of victory was something of a surprise, as the two sides had been inseparable in three previous meetings in this year's competition.
      Victory confirmed 'Los Millonarios' as the dominant team in South America, as they now hold all three of the continent's major club competitions: the Copa Sudamericana (Europa League equivalent), the Recopa Sudamericana (UEFA Super Cup equivalent) and the Libertadores.
      River's success must have made especially grim viewing for any Boca Juniors fans.
      Buenos Aires' bitterest of rivals met earlier in the competition, with River only advancing after the game was called off due to a Boca fan attacking an opposition player in the tunnel during the second leg.
      The defeat condemned Tigres to become the third Mexican side to reach the Libertadores final and fall at the last hurdle, with the country still without a champion on the continent.
      "They deserved it," said Tigres' Brazilian striker Sobis. "They should enjoy it. Life goes on."
      That River even reached the final was something of a miracle given the Argentine club were bottom of their section in the competition's group stages after five matches.
      It took a near-inconceivable turnaround in their last game to enable them to sneak through in second place -- behind Tigres.
      "The history of this club is about fighting for these kind of competitions," midfielder Leonardo Ponzio said after the win over Tigres.
      "Today is the greatest that you can achieve as a club and we did it."