High temperatures, nausea, and aches and pains as Flu cough up the Libertadores to LDU

July 3, 2008 at 01:15 1 comment

Ecuador’s LDU are the new champions of the Copa Libertadores after they beat Brazil’s Fluminense in a truly breath-taking game in estádio Maracanã.

3-1 on the night and with the aggregate score level at 5-5 after full-time; the game went to extra time and then penalties with LDU coming out on top 3-1.

Flu’s Thiago Neves put on one of those once in a lifetime performances scoring three in normal time but in the end he was outdone by LDU’s keeper Cevallos who made some exceptional stops when it came to penalties.  

The Libertadores may live in the shadows of Europe’s more illustrious Champions League but this was as good, if not better, than anything that the old continent can offer.

This game had it all. Two determined teams. Great skill. Great goals. Extra time. And penalties. No caginess and no defensive nonsense – just two sides going for the jugular right from the start.

Flu trailed 4×2 from the first leg in Ecuador, which meant that a 3-0 win on Wednesday would give them the title outright while 2-0 would take the game to extra-time.

Pushed on by around 80,000 fans, Fluminense got off to a very bright start pegging LDU back inside their own penalty area.

But 5 minutes in, disaster struck. As Flu dithered at the back, Guerron’s persistence paid off and Bolaños silenced the Maracanã when he belted the ball into the back of the net.

Four minutes later, Flu were gifted a chance when they broke down the centre. The ball ended up with Washington who someone managed to miss the target from close range.

LDU went straight down the other end and might have made it 2-0 when Bolaños and Manso carved out another opportunity.

But with 11 minutes on the clock, Thiago Neves found himself in space and his left-footed shot beat Cevallos to bring the teams level.

Neves was at the centre of most things for Flu. But the midfielder is an habitual diver and was just as keen to show his acting skills as his ability with the ball.

But with 27 minutes gone Neves demonstrated why he’s almost certain to be playing in Europe later this year. LDU were caught napping when a long throw found Cicero in acres of space down the left. His cross was swept in by Neves who had escaped his marker.

Again, LDU took the game to FLU. And once again the Rio side almost shot themselves in the foot when a reverse ball left keeper Fernando Henrique in trouble and it took two attempts to get it clear.

The pace remained relentless.

A penalty appeal was turned down when Washington was sent clattering to the ground by Ambrossi’s challenge but Argentine referee, Héctor Baldassi was not interested.

So, a splendid first 45 minutes ended with the score at 2-1 and Flu needing at least two more in the second-period.

There was no real surprise that Renato Gaúcho brought on Dodô for Ygor after the interval. And, the forward was soon involved creating a half-chance early on.

Dodo then came even closer when his shot hit a defender only to cannon off the post.

On 55 minutes, Neves went down once again just outside the area. An expectant Maracanã held its breath and the midfielder stepped up to rifle home a stunning free-kick past Cevallos.

Now the game was set to go into extra time.

LDU remained a threat with the outstanding Guerrón always a danger. But it was a long-range effort from Urrutia that had Fernando Henrique scrambling to turn the ball away.

The plucky Ecuadorians almost struck when Bieler hit the post and the rebound was put over by Manso.

At the other end, Cevallos had to make a one-handed stop from Conca’s speculative shot.

Junior César then won a free-kick on the edge of the penalty area but Cicero headed over.

3-1 after 90 minutes sent the game into extra time.

With both teams drained from their earlier exertions, the first 15 minutes produced few real chances.

But halfway through the second period, LDU thought they had snatched it when Bieler had the ball in the back of the net but was incorrectly ruled offside.

Flu responded and Neves was denied by Cevallos yet again.

LDU then counterattacked with the powerful Guerrón. He was held back by Luis Alberto and referee Héctor Baldassi had no choice but to send the Flu captain off.

The resultant free-kick came to nothing and a hushed Maracanã knew the decision was going to be decided on penalties.

LDU were up first and Urrutia put it away. But when Conca missed his, the heads dropped.

Relief came though when Fernando Henrique stopped W. Araújo’s shot.

But that was short-lived as Thiago Neves of all people had his effort blocked by Cevallos.

Salas was then on target for LDU.

Cicero finally put one in for Flu but the crowd’s reaction was subdued.

Guerrón thumped his home, which left it down to Washington to convert his. But Cevallos guessed right again and LDU were the Libertadores champions.

While the dejected Brazilians sloped off to near silence, the noise from the ecstatic band of Ecuadorian fans was swallowed up by the giant stadium.

And so ended a really cracking game and a fine advert for South American football.

LDU are worthy champions and have the added bonus of an appearance in the World Club Championship in Japan in December.

But what now for Fluminense? Bottom of the Campeonato Brasileiro with two points from eight games, they have a tricky away match at strugglers Goiás on Sunday.

Yet if they play with the same gusto and commitment they demonstrated on Wednesday, they could win the Brasileiro with ease.

See the goals here

See the penalties here

See the match build up and best moments here

FLUMINENSE 3(1)x(3)1 LDU
Venue: Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro (RJ)
Referee: Héctor Baldassi (Argentina)
Assistants: Ricardo Casas & Hernán Maidana (Argentina)
FLUMINENSE: Fernando Henrique, Gabriel (Maurício), Thiago Silva, Luiz Alberto, Júnior César, Ygor (Dodô), Arouca (Roger), Darío Conca, Thiago Neves; Cícero, Washington
Coach: Renato Gaúcho

LDU: Cevallos, Renán Calle, Norberto Araújo, Jairo Campos; Joffre Guerrón, Enrique Vera, Patrício Urrutia, Paul Ambrossi, Luis Bolaños (Salas); Damián Manso (W. Araújo), Claudio Bieler
Coach: Edgardo Bauza

Goals: FLUMINENSE: Thiago Neves 11, 27, 55
LDU: Bolaños 5 minutes

Yellow cards: Luiz Alberto, Thiago Silva, Cícero (F); Bieler, Guerrón, Cevallos, Vera(L)
Red: Luiz Alberto(F)

    

 

   

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Entry filed under: Libertadores 2008. Tags: , , , , .

Flamengo open up a two point lead Liverpool move in for Cavalieri

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. robdog  |  July 4, 2008 at 22:32

    Neither one of these teams can beat Pachuca.

    Reply

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The man who came up with: Messi carrying Argentina. Neymar carrying Brazil. British Airways carrying England. My name is Jon Cotterill. I am an English football commentator for TV Globo in São Paulo, Brazil. Currently we're broadcasting two live Campeonato Brasileiro or Campeonato Paulista games per week plus our magazine show, Footbrazil to 180 countries. + Eu trabalho como narrador na TV Globo em São Paulo, Brasil. Atualmente, nos transmitimos dois jogos ao vivo do Campeonato Brasileiro ou Campeonato Paulista por semana e nosso programa de futebol semanal, Footbrazil.

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