By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Wednesday, April 25th, Flamengo continued its 2018 Copa Libertadores campaign drawing 0-0 with Colombian side Independiente Santa Fe (Sante Fe) in Bogotá, Colombia.
In the first match between these two clubs, a closed-door affair at Maracanã Stadium on April 18th, Flamengo took the early lead but the visitors rallied to escape with the 1-1 draw.
Flamengo was forced to play last week’s match in an empty Maracanã Stadium as punishment for fan violence surrounding last December’s Copa Sudamericana final.
Last night, both clubs got off to a listless start with neither able to generate scoring opportunities. Near the end of the first period, Flamengo was fortunate to keep the game scoreless when Santa Fe was denied a penalty after Henrique Dourado committed a handball in the box.
Santa Fe came out more aggressive in the second period, but still had no goals to show for their effort. Flamengo continued playing with low energy as it appeared the players were running out the clock hoping for a tie.
Despite the lackluster effort, in the game’s closing moments in extra time, the Rubro-Negra had a golden chance to salvage the game. Geuvânio stole the ball, darted towards the goal and deposited the ball into the back of the net past the diving Santa Fe keeper.
Flamengo players celebrated the apparent victory but it would short-lived. The goal was immediately called off as it came just seconds after the officials blew the closing whistle.
Flamengo players and coaches protested the officials’ decision, but it was to no avail as the game ended in a scoreless 0-0 tie.
Flamengo remains undefeated in Group D of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s premier club soccer competition, with six points in four games, while Santa Fe is third with four points.
The other two teams in the group, Argentina’s River Plate and Ecuador’s Emelec, have five points and one point, respectively.