By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco beat Ponte Preta 2-1 last night at São Januário to progress to the last sixteen of the Copa do Brasil. Following their 2-0 victory in the first leg last week, last night’s result gave the Cruz-Maltino a comprehensive 4-1 aggregate advantage over their Paulista opponents.
An opener from Douglas and a Rafael Costa own goal were enough for the Cariocas to get their second victory over Ponte Preta. Cafu scored a consolation for the visitors.
Just like last week, Vasco dominated possession. They enjoyed 65 percent of the ball as Ponte chased shadows. And they deservedly went ahead after twenty minutes, when Dakson was felled inside the penalty area by Ponte defender Luan. Douglas stepped up and converted the resulting spot-kick.
Ponte Preta began to come into the game more and equalized when Cafu capitalized on a Rodrigo error in the heart of the Vasco defense, but parity did not last for long. On 41 minutes Vasco were back in front.
Douglas curled in a corner and Rafael Costa sent the ball past his own goalkeeper. It was an unfortunate error that put Ponte on the brink of elimination. At the end of the first half, Vasco midfielder Fabrício was lucky to stay on the field. He threw his elbow into Alef’s face, with the referee failing to produce a red card.
After the interval Vasco forward Kleber was replaced by Lucas Crispim. But the side’s outlook did not change, as they looked to guard the three goal advantage they had managed to build over the two legs. As Ponte Preta surged forward, Vasco were able to hit on the counter-attack. Three times they went close to adding to the scoreline, but the game ended 2-1, and the two-legged aggregate 4-1.
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