Colombia's Gutierrez voted South American player of year

Colombia's Teofilo Gutierrez celebrates after scoring a goal during their 2014 World Cup Group C soccer match against Greece at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte June 14, 2014. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger

MONTEVIDEO (Reuters) - Colombia striker Teofilo Gutierrez has been voted South America’s footballer of the year and their Argentine coach Jose Pekerman the best coach for the third time in a row.

Gutierrez, who helped Colombia reach the World Cup quarter-finals in Brazil, was a key member of the River Plate side that won the Copa Sudamericana, the region’s equivalent of the Europa League, this month.

Argentina’s River boasted the top three players in the annual poll by the Uruguayan newspaper El Pais with Uruguay winger Carlos Sanchez second and midfielder Leonardo Pisculichi third.

The top three coaches were all Argentine with Alejandro Sabella, who steered Argentina to the World Cup final, second and River’s Marcelo Gallardo third.

Libertadores Cup winners San Lorenzo, runners-up to Real Madrid in the Club World Cup, had three players to River’s five in the year’s best 11.

Reporting by Esteban Farat; Writing by Rex Gowar, editing by Ed Osmond