By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo lost 2-1 to Léon of Mexico in their first game in the 2014 Copa Libertadores last night. Holding midfielder Amaral was dismissed after only twelve minutes and the Brazilians never managed to take a stranglehold on the game.
The referee judged Amaral to have connected dangerously with Montes and showed him a straight red card. Flamengo were forced to play for 78 minutes with a one man disadvantage and Léon made them pay.
Until the dismissal the game had remained open and even, but immediately afterwards, Léon began to dominate possession as Flamengo hopelessly chased shadows.
With half an hour gone, Hernane was judged to have fouled Boselli inside the penalty area. The referee pointed to the spot without hesitation. Boselli himself converted the penalty to give Léon the lead. Fla fought back through Elano and Léo Moura, as the right flank became their most creative outlet.
Three minutes before the interval, that same area of the pitch would allow Flamengo to create their equalizer. Elano whipped in a cross and Victor Cáceres met the ball at the far post with a powerful header to bring the scores level.
After the break Léon were awarded a second penalty when André Santos brought down goal threat Boselli. However, he missed the chance to restore the Mexicans’ lead, Felipe saving his attempt to chip the ball down the middle of the goal.
Nevertheless, second did come for Léon, midway through the half. From a corner, Arizala swiveled and hit the ball on the half-volley beyond Felipe. Boselli hit the woodwork twice on the counter as Fla searched to level, but the score remained 2-1. Flamengo return to Libertadores action on February 26th against Emelec of Ecuador.
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