By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense have been eliminated from the Copa do Brasil after a shock 5-2 defeat to América-RN at the Maracanã Stadium last night. Despite winning the first leg 3-0 last week, Flu went out on away goals after incredibly conceding five times on home turf.
It was the seventh time the Carioca club have been sent out of the Cup by a supposed minnow, but it is doubtful any were as painful as this one.
Flu initially fell behind on the night, but a neat finish from Fred before a close-range striker from Cícero sppeared to have put Flu through to the last sixteen. But, in one of the greatest turnarounds in the history of the tournament, América netted four times in the second half, including three in the last fifteen minutes, to continue their journey.
Max pulled one back less than five minutes after the interval to get the ball rolling. Flu tried to dominate possession in midfield but individual errors continued to appear frequently.
Even so, with fifteen minutes remaining the home side still appeared safe. But a rash error from goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri gave América hope. The stopper inexplicably came rushing off his goal line and out of his penalty area to gather a ball he simply could not reach. Alfredo beat him to the ball and put it into the unguarded net.
The error looked as if it had shaken Flu. On 82 minutes, Alfredo was left unmarked inside the six yard box to turn home a ball that rebounded off the post. Now it was all backs to the wall for the Rio side. With just eight minutes remaining, América now needed one more to eliminate the 2007 champions.
It came right at the death. Jean and Fabrício failed to clear a late attack, allowing Rodrigo Pimpão to sneak in and slot a low shot beyond Cavalieri to complete the comeback.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.