By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco comfortably beat Ponte Preta 2-0 last night to edge towards the final sixteen of the Copa do Brasil. Second half goals from Diego Renan and Thalles, as well as a majestic performance from midfielder Douglas, put the Cruz-Maltino on the path to victory after the first leg of the tie.
Douglas set up the first goal and his passing and vision was the main difference between the two teams. His form will also be key to Vasco’s promotion hopes in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série B.
With a two goal advantage away from home Vasco welcome Ponte Preta to São Januário next Wednesday for the return leg. The pair also meet in the league on Saturday, meaning the sides are set to meet three times in the space of a week.
Vasco were the better side throughout and from the first whistle looked to dominate possession. But there was a lack of creativity and cohesion in their midfield play that didn’t allow them to take advantage of their ball control.
Ponte Preta went close to opening the scoring when Adrianinho’s free-kick was turned goalwards by Alexandro, but Vasco stopper Martin Silva was equal to the effort. But it was the Cariocas who missed the best chance of the first half. Douglas put Thalles clean through on goal but the young forward sent his shot wide of the post. The sides went in goalless at the break.
As the second half kicked off Ponte Preta tried to up the ante. Alef supplied Edno but he too missed the target when given a sight of goal. Ten minutes after the interval Vasco went ahead. Douglas teed up Diego Renan whose wonderfully struck shot beat Roberto in goal.
Six minutes later Vasco doubled their lead and sealed the first leg of the contest as Thalles passed to new strike partner Kleber, who unleashed a rocket of a shot. Roberto could only parry the effort, and the Ponte defense hesitated, allowing Thalles to nip and and slot the ball home. Vasco were home and dry.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.