By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco came from behind to beat Treze 2-1 in the Copa do Brasil second round first leg last night. A brace from Thalles in the second half rescued the Cruz-Maltino, giving them the advantage for the tie’s second leg to be played at São Januário Stadium next Thursday.
In truth, it was a dire performance from Vasco. They were saved by their youngsters in the second half, whose injection of pace and enthusiasm compensated for the side’s anonymous first half display.
Passes went astray, opponents weren’t picked up and the majority of the Vasco players spent the 90 minutes looking like they would rather be anywhere other than a football pitch. Coach Adilson Batista looked thoroughly defeated on the touchline as his barked instructions failed to have the desired effect on a lackluster team.
Treze started the game on the front foot and deservedly went ahead on nineteen minutes, Esquerdinha converting Jonatas Belusso’s cross. Vasco tried to respond but managed just one threatening effort throughout the first half.
Adilson Batista made changes at the interval, and at last Vasco started to play some cohesive football when Yago and Marquinhos came on for the ineffective Montoya and Reginaldo, and the side’s outlook changed. Just five minutes after the restart Vasco were level as Marquinhos lifted a cross into the penalty area and Thalles headed home.
Treze had chances to take the lead, but Vasco began to control possession as their opponents tired, then five minutes from time the Rio club snatched what looked an unlikely victory. Thalles rose highest from Douglas’ corner and nodded the winner. On a night inspired by young blood, Batista may be better off using them from the kick-off in the return next week in the Copa do Brasil.
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