By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – An enormous mistake by central defender Samir cost Flamengo a loss to Bolívar last night in the fourth game of the club’s Copa Libertadores campaign. The Rubro-Negro lost 1-0 after conceding an early penalty, which subsequently converted to take all three points for the Bolivian club.
Playing at 3,600 meters above sea level was undoubtedly a difficult task for the Brazilians. Add a water-soaked pitch into the equation and playing conditions were nigh-on impossible. The defeat has left Fla in a difficult situation in Group seven.
Previously in second place, defeat meant the club dropped to bottom place with only two group games left to play. Flamengo have four points from their four games so far, having won one, drawn one and lost two. They have games against Emelec and Leon, of Ecuador and Mexico respectively, remaining.
Despite falling behind so early yesterday – Acre scored the penalty with just four minutes on the clock – Flamengo lacked the impetus and initiative to get back into the game. As a result, Flamengo will need to win their last two matches to qualify for the knock-out stages of the continental competition.
As they tried to break down their disciplined opponents, Flamengo found themselves swamped at every turn. The midfield was given little space in which to work, resulting in the attack becoming isolated and toothless.
Flamengo huffed and puffed in the second half but could not blow the Bolívar house down. As the clock wore down, the players looked visibly drained from playing at such high altitude. Bolivian dominance over Brazilian clubs continues. No Bolivian side has lost at home to a Brazilian for 31 years.
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