By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco were left lamenting poor refereeing after a 0-0 draw with Corinthians in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores quarter-final tie last night at São Januário Stadium. The Cariocas had a perfectly good goal chalked off in the second half, which would have given them a crucial advantage going into next week’s return leg.
After solid rain in Rio for the last three days, the pitch resembled a swamp as the grass became heavy and the game found no tempo. Neither side threatened frequently, but Eder Luis wasted the home side’s best chance, shooting weakly when through on goal.
After Corinthians began to mount pressure in the second half, the controversial moment came twenty minutes from time. Vasco’s Thiago Feltri crossed from the left, Diego Souza met the ball with his head and Alecsandro diverted the ball into the net.
Linesman referee Alessandro Rocha Mattos raised his flag for offside to the disdain of the Vascaínos. Television replays showed the striker to be level with Emerson and the goal should have stood.
With no change in the scoreline, a victory for Corinthians in the Pacaembu will be enough to see them through. That possibility added to the bitter taste in the mouth of the Rio club.
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