By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In a exciting battle for a spot in the 2018 Copa do Brasil (Brazil Cup) Finals, Flamengo was edged out by São Paulo’s Corinthians 2-1 in the second leg of the tournament semi-finals last night (September 26th).
In the opening leg of the semis on September 12th, the Rubro-Negra had the advantage in ball possession and scoring chances but had nothing to show for their efforts. Corinthians escaped Maracanã with a 0-0 draw.
Last night, at Arena Corinthians in São Paulo, the home team struck first at the fourteen minute mark. Lackadaisical defense from Flamengo left Danilo Avelar unmarked in the box. Danilo would make Flamengo pay for that error as he easily struck the ball past a helpless Diego Alves for the 1-0 lead.
But, Flamengo would respond moments later when Pará crossed into the box and bounced the ball off of Corinthians keeper Cássio and into the net to tie the game 1-1.
The back and forth battle continued deep into the second period with neither team able to capitalize on several scoring chances.
Finally, at the 70th minute, Pedrinho somehow managed to unleash a superb strike past three Flamengo defenders and a diving Alves before finding the back of the net for the 2-1 lead.
One last chance for the Rubro-Negra in stoppage time when Pará launched a rocket volley that bounced off the post, sealing the 2-1 win for Corinthians.
With the win, Corinthians advance to the 2018 Copa do Brasil Finals taking place in mid-October. They will face off against Cruzeiro who defeated Palmeiras 2-1 in aggregate in last night’s other semifinal.
The Copa do Brasil is a knockout soccer tournament that includes 91 clubs from across Brazil competing in a series of home-away matches beginning in March through September.