By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo and Botafogo progressed to the quarter-finals of the Copa do Brasil last night and will now face each other in a Carioca classico. Botafogo drew 2-2 away to Atlético-MG, and having won the first leg 4-2 went through 6-4 on aggregate.
At the Maracanã Stadium in Rio, a late Elias goal gave Flamengo a 1-0 victory over Cruzeiro. Fla had lost 2-1 away to the Minas club and advanced on the away goals rule. Fluminense went out to Goiás 2-1 on aggregate after a 2-0 defeat last night.
Botafogo twice came from behind to level in their 2-2 draw with Atlético-MG at the Estádio Independência. Needing to win by a two goal cushion to progress Atlético seized the game, led by Fernandinho.
They finally took the lead on 37 minutes when the young winger’s left sided cross found Marcos Rocha unmarked at the far post. The full-back drove the ball into the top corner of the net.
Atlético went in at half-time with a one goal advantage, knowing just one more would see them through to the quarter-finals. Yet Botafogo had other ideas. Rafael Marques equalized for Botafogo just five minutes after the restart. It was the striker’s sixteenth goal of the season and fifth in the Copa do Brasil.
Fernandinho then put Atlético back in front six minutes later. Tardelli robed Seedorf, beat Dória for pace and crossed for Fernandinho to finish, again leaving Atlético needing just a solitary goal to qualify. Then on the hour mark their hopes were dashed for the final time.
Seedorf’s chipped free-kick caused confusion in the Atlético penalty area and Dória smashed home their second equalizer of the night. It was how the game would remain.
An 88th minute goal from Elias put Flamengo through to the quarter-finals in dramatic fashion. In a quiet game the holding midfielder was once again Flamengo’s best player. Cruzeiro had the better chances but failed to convert. As the game neared its end, Paulinho crossed and Elias guided the team into the next round.
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