By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On a night filled with tension and late drama, Flamengo were knocked out at the group stage of the 2012 Copa Libertadores in a failure that could make for a swift end to coach Joel Santana’s fifth spell at the club.
The Rubro-Negro comprehensively defeated Argentine club Lanús 3-0, with goals from Wellinton, Luiz Antonio and Deivid, but previous slip-ups in the tournament have cost the Gaveá outfit dearly.
Successive away defeats against Olimpia and Paraguay, of Paraguay and Ecuador respectively, as well as letting a three goal lead slip against Olimpia to draw 3-3 in Rio, left Mengão praying for a miracle to progress.
The club needed to beat Lanús and hope for a draw in the group’s other tie between Olimpia and Emelec. However as Rio cheered on a solid performance by Flamengo, their past tournament play caught up with them.
In Paraguay, two minutes into injury-time on an evening you simply could not script, millions of hearts were broken across Brazil as Luis Quiñonez struck for Emelec to win the match 3-2 after Caballero had pulled Olimpia level just sixty seconds previously.
The shock result leaves Flamengo with only the Campeonato Carioca to play for until the Brasileirão kicks off again at the end of May.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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