By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense got their Copa Sul-Americana campaign off to the perfect start with a 2-1 win over Goiás at the Maracanã Stadium yesterday evening. Two goals from young midfielder Edson helped the Tricolor overcome stubborn opponents, who dominated the second half once Flu had been reduced to ten men.
Goalkeeper Kléver was shown a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Goiás forward Erik just before the hour mark. Flu had their backs to the wall but hung on grimly, meaning they will take a slender advantage into next week’s return leg at Serra Dourada.
The game was, as the old footballing cliché goes, one of two halves. Fluminense dominated the first, with Edson scoring twice in the space of five minutes to give the side breathing space.
First, on 28 minutes, the youngster stole in front of goalkeeper Renan to steer home Conca’s inswinging cross. Then, just a few minutes later, he managed to rise completely unmarked at a corner to glance home Rafael Sóbis’ center.
Goiás came out for the second half playing at a much quicker tempo. Their cause was helped on 59 minutes with the dismissal of Kléver, who recklessly felled Erik when the forward had the goal at his mercy. Flu coach Cristovão Borges was forced into defensive changes, taking off forwards Rafael Sóbis for keeper Felipe Garcia and No. 9 Fred central defender Henrique.
The result was, however, constant pressure, with no one able to hold the ball up in the final third for Flu. Three minutes into injury time, Goiás’ persistence paid off when Esmeraldinho converted from close range. The late strike means a 1-0 win for Goiás next week will be enough to help them progress in the continental competition.
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