Flamengo crashed out of the
Libertadores Cup after their 3-0 win over Group Two leaders
Lanus in Rio de Janeiro was rendered academic by Emelec's
dramatic 3-2 victory against Olimpia in Asuncion on Thursday.
The 1981 South American champions, with Ronaldinho in
inspirational form, got the victory they needed but in order to
progress to the knockout phase they needed a draw at the
Defensores del Chaco in the Paraguayan capital.
Instead, a stoppage-time goal from Emelec's Jose Quinonez
right on the heels of an Olimpia equaliser gave the Ecuadorean
side a shock 3-2 away victory that put them in the last 16 and
left Flamengo's players in tears at the Engenhao.
Argentine side Lanus won the group with 10 points, followed
by Emelec on nine and Flamengo on eight, a point ahead of
Olimpia who won the last of their three Libertadores Cups in
Coach Joel Santana's Flamengo were left to rue their failure
to close down two matches from which they should have taken four
They led Olimpia 3-0 in Rio on March 28 but conceded three
goals in the final 15 minutes and drew 3-3.
Last week, they were drawing 2-2 with Emelec in Guayaquil
but conceded a last-minute penalty. On their return to Rio they
managed to avoid angry fans planning to pelt them with eggs.
Emelec made the most of the opportunity presented to them
and Marcos Mondaini, man of the match in Asuncion, said
Thursday's victory was reward for their persistence.
"It was like a final ... we hadn't taken any points away but
we never gave up trying to win here," the Argentine striker told
Flamengo went ahead in the 18th minute when their Argentine
midfielder Dario Bottinelli sent a corner from the left to the
far post where centre-back Welinton rose behind the defence to
head home from close range.
Ten minutes later, Lanus almost equalised in a brilliant
counter-attack started and finished by captain Diego Valeri.
The midfielder fed Uruguayan Mario Regueiro on the left, his
cross to the right was brought down by striker Mariano Pavone
into the path of Valeri whose stinging shot was pushed away for
a corner by diving goalkeeper Felipe.
Flamengo increased their lead five minutes before the
interval when Ronaldinho dribbled past three defenders on the
edge of the box and passed right to striker Deivid, whose shot
took a slight deflection on a defender and beat goalkeeper
Ronaldinho laid on Flamengo's third five minutes after
half-time, jinking past two defenders on the left and pulling the
ball back beyond the far post for midfielder Luiz Antonio who
shot low past several defenders into the net.
In Asuncion meanwhile, Olimpia went in front on the stroke
of half-time when goalkeeper Esteban Dreer could only parry
Colombian midfielder Vladimir Marin's shot and Arnaldo Castorino
scored but Emelec equalised in the 67th minute through Mondaini.
Three minutes from time, substitute Angel Mena put Emelec
ahead. When Pablo Zeballos equalised two minutes into added
time, fans and players at the Engenhao in Rio celebrated what
looked like being a draw in Asuncion only to have their dreams
shattered a minute later by Quinonez's header.
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