By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A hat-trick from Hernane helped Flamengo to a 4-0 demolition of Botafogo in the Copa do Brasil quarter-final second leg at the Maracanã last night. After a 1-1 draw in the first leg, last night’s massacre helped the Rubro-Negro to a 5-1 aggregate win and granted them a safe passage into the semi-finals.
As the score suggests, Flamengo were superior from start to finish. In front of close to 60,000 fans, they played with the flair and daring abandon that has been sorely missing from their Brasileirão campaign.
Speaking at the final whistle, Hernane said he had reached his initial objective of thirty goals for the season. “I know my mother is happy, because I called her, told her to be calm, and that I would be decisive. I’ve reached my objective of thirty goals for the year,” he said.
Flamengo opened the scoring on nineteen minutes and never looked back. Marcelo Mattos failed to clear a ball from the Botafogo penalty area and Hernane steered the ball home to send the Flamenguistas wild.
Just after the half-hour, Hernane doubled Flamengo’s lead, hitting home the rebound after Jefferson could only palm an effort from Paulinho. Botafogo tried in vain to respond but found no answer. Rafael Marques was left in isolation at the head of the attack as Seedorf, Lodeiro and Gegê failed to function behind him. Short of chances and bereft of hope, Marques cut a lonely figure for the entire game.
Just before the hour mark, Hernane completed his hat-trick and Flamengo knew their task was complete. André Santos crossed from the left and the No. 9 rose to head the ball into the back of the net. There was even time for Léo Moura to convert a penalty, making Botafogo’s humiliation complete as Flamengo marched without hesitation into the semis.
Tonight, fellow Cariocas Vasco da Gama will try to join them. They play the second leg of their quarter-final against Goiás at the Maracanã, trailing 2-1 from the first game.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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