By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo beat Emelec 2-1 last night in the Copa Libertadores to keep their dreams of progressing to the knock-out phase alive. Victory in their final group game, at home to Léon of Mexico, would see the Rubro-Negro safely through to the final sixteen of the competition.
An Alecsandro penalty and a last-gasp strike from Paulinho gave Flamengo all three points on a difficult night in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Flamengo were missing key players due to injury, including captain Léo Moura, but their improvised defense stood up to a stern test, especially during the second half.
During the first half, Flamengo enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and went ahead after only eight minutes. Emelec defender Naduti handled in the area and Alecsandro converted the resulting spot kick.
Emelec made a change at the interval, bringing on Bolaños for Mondaini as they tried to seize the initiative. The ploy worked as the hosts took the game away from the Brazilians, Fla only managing to hit occasionally on the counter.
Flamengo were holding on but conceded an equalizer twenty minutes from time. Welinton impeded Caicedo in the penalty area and Emelec were awarded a spot kick of their own, which Stracqualursi tucked away.
Emelec sensed the game was there for the taking. Nevertheless, Mengo coach Jayme de Almeida sent on young forward Negueba and he made all the difference. On 92 minutes, he sent Paulinho through to score the game’s winning goal in the dying minutes. Flamengo remain in the mix in the Copa Libertadores.
Meanwhile, Botafogo lost 1-0 at home to Unión Espaõla of Chile to dent their qualification hopes. The Glorioso have seven points from five games and will need to beat San Lorenzo in Argentina to go through to the next round.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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