By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Botafogo thrashed Ecuadorian club Deportivo Quito 4-0 at the Maracanã Stadium last night to qualify for the group stages of the Copa Libertadores for the first time in eighteen years. After losing the first leg of the tie 1-0, the result gave the Glorioso a 4-1 aggregate win, safely securing their passage.
Wallyson scored a hat-trick and substitute Henrique netted an injury-time goal to underline Botafogo’s dominance. However, for some heavy handed tactics from the visitors, the scoreline could have been even more emphatic in the Rio club’s strongest performance this calendar year.
Over 50,000 were inside the Maracanã to witness one of the best nights in the Alvinegro’s recent history. The fans gave the team huge vocal support from the first kick.
Botafogo will go into Group 2 of the Libertadores, alongside Unión Española of Chile, Independiente del Valle of Ecuador and Argentina’s San Lorenzo. They host San Lorenzo at the Maracanã on Tuesday in the opener.
The Brazilians took the game to Deportivo right from the first minute. Nicolás Lodeiro hit the side netting and Ferreyra went close with a header before Wallyson opened the scoring on 36 minutes, volleying home Jorge Wagner’s looping header.
In the second half, the home side kept up the intense pressure as they sought the second goal to put them ahead on aggregate. Coach Eduardo Hungaro sent on Elias for the ineffective Ferreyra to give the attack a fresh outlet.
Less than a minute later, the second goal arrived. Lodeiro, who had an excellent game, played Wallyson through, who cut inside and slipped the ball past the goalkeeper. He completed his hat-trick ten minutes from time and left the pitch to a standing ovation.
Henrique entered and scored Botafogo’s fourth from close range in injury time. It was a perfect night for Botafogo’s star to shine.
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