By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo and Botafogo fell from the 2014 Copa Libertadores last night as the Rio de Janeiro clubs failed to make the top two in their groups. Coupled with the failure of Atlético-PR, it is the first time in history that three Brazilian clubs have fallen at the first hurdle in the continental competition, the country’s worst showing in the tournament in its current format in 2000.
Grêmio, Cruzeiro and Atlético-MG have made it through to the knock-out stages. It is also the first time no club from Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo will be involved in the latter stages.
Flamengo finished third in Group seven after losing 3-2 at home to Mexican club Léon last night. The club never held the lead and, despite the huge crowd at the Maracanã – over 60,000 were inside the stadium – could not take charge and were constantly chasing the game, finally succumbing to the sucker punch seven minutes from time.
Botafogo’s performance was even more dire. The Alvinegro finished bottom of Group two following a humiliating 3-0 defeat to San Lorenzo in Argentina yesterday. The side’s display has called into question the effectiveness of coach Eduardo Hungaro after the side managed to score just five goals in their six group games.
Last night, Botafogo were outclassed from start to finish. Two rounds ago, the Glorioso looked likely to progress to the final sixteen after an encouraging start to their group. Yet two successive defeats have put paid to their experience, for this year at least, and both clubs will now have to refocus their efforts ahead of the start of the 2014 Campeonato Brasileiro in nine days’ time.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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