The primary leg of Brazil’s cup remaining was a recreation of cat and mouse by which nobody ended up with the cheese. Corinthians of Sao Paulo and Flamengo of Rio drew 0-0 on Wednesday, leaving the whole lot up for grabs in subsequent week’s return match.
As destiny would have it, that is the primary time that these two giants, the preferred golf equipment within the nation, are assembly in an enormous remaining.
Greater than 33 years in the past they did meet in an early equal of the Group Protect, but it surely was a low key event with restricted attraction. Lower than 3,000 paid to look at it.
This time, all of the tickets for each legs might have been bought 10 instances over. It’s a big event, that means that along with a capability crowd, pressure and warning have been additionally in attendance.
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Warning was inevitable from Corinthians, regardless that they have been at dwelling within the first leg; Flamengo are clear favourites. Two months again when the groups met within the quarterfinal of the Copa Libertadores, South America’s Champions League, Flamengo received dwelling and away.
The hole between the perimeters has most likely closed since then, however all the identical Corinthians had each motive to be cautious. Given time and area, Flamengo can open up the sphere with sweeping diagonal passes as they cost ahead with their irresistible entrance 4. Flamengo would have many of the ball, however Corinthians would ensure that their area was reduce to a minimal.
This, after all, is nothing new for Flamengo. Over the previous few years their attacking brilliance has inevitably provoked a response, with groups trying to cowl up in opposition to them. Having to interrupt down deep defences is a weekly problem. At their finest, they will fizz fast exchanges of passes in lowered areas across the fringe of the realm and play their approach by.
They almost managed it this time, slipping centre-forward Pedro by in opposition to the large determine of Corinthians keeper Cassio. However Pedro couldn’t make the angle, and the shot went vast of the close to publish. Cassio needed to be fast on his toes when Pedro slipped Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa previous the defensive position. And within the second half he had to deal with a mini bombardment, blocking a fierce Gabigol volley and plunging left to push out a cross shot from Everton Ribeiro. In between he might solely watch as an extended vary shot from David Luiz pinged again off his crossbar.
Corinthians, although, weren’t passive. Their finest technique of defending in opposition to Flamengo was to have the ball, and luxuriate in their very own intervals of possession. At instances they have been capable of open up area for playmaker Renato Augusto and provoke discomfort within the Flamengo ranks. However the two moments of most discomfort got here on the counter-attack. Within the first half Flamengo centre-back Leo Pereira misjudged the flight of the ball and missed a header on a routine clearance. Striker Yuri Alberto was in, bearing down on objective, chopping inside David Luiz and making ready to tug the set off — when defensive midfielder Thiago Maia managed to get again in time to place in a saving deal with. And proper on the finish of the match, after a vexing pause for partial floodlight failure, Pereira was caught out of place excessive up the sphere and Alberto was on the cost as soon as extra, this time to fireside off a shot which took a slight deflection earlier than keeper Santos dived proper to make the save and be certain that the primary leg completed goalless.
In entrance of an enormous crowd within the Maracana subsequent Wednesday Flamengo will definitely anticipate to get the job performed. Corinthians, although, don’t appear uncomfortable with the standing of underdogs, and Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira will work out a technique for the event. He’ll lament that his aspect has met Flamengo in three large knockout video games and had possibilities each time however have nonetheless but to attain a objective. And he’ll relish the absence subsequent week of Joao Gomes, the Flamengo midfield dynamo, who will miss the second leg by suspension. Flamengo are extra weak with out him, and can miss his lung energy when the sport of cat and mouse resumes subsequent Wednesday with the massive cheese at stake.