By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A scrappy affair ended in a goalless draw between Grêmio and Fluminense in the fifth round of the Copa Libertadores group stage last night. The result leave Fluminense top of the group, but only two points separate the four sides going into the final round next week.
Fluminense had the ball in the back of the net through Rhayner but the linesman incorrectly flagged for offside. In the first half Grêmio were reduced to ten men when defender Cris was shown a straight red card for a rash challenge on Rafael Sóbis.
Flu set up to defend as they started the game without their first choice attacking quartet of Fred, Wellington Nem, Deco and Thiago Neves. Even so, Grêmio keeper Dida was forced into smart saves from Wágner and Rhayner to keep the hosts level.
In the second half the game was quiet and tense. Grêmio had reorganized at the break following Cris’ dismissal and Flu remained happy to sit back and absorb pressure. But as the game wore on the Cariocas became more bold, coach Abel Braga sending on playmaker Felipe to try and unlock the home defense.
Wágner missed a great chance though, after Dida got himself into the wrong position from a left wing cross, only to recover and make a scrambling save with his feet. Next Thursday, Fluminense play their final group game against Venezuelan side Caracas at home in the São Januário Stadium.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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