Mon, 18 Oct 2021

Flamengo edge toward Copa Libertadores final

Xinhua
23 Sep 2021, 17:30 GMT+10

RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Bruno Henrique struck two first-half goals as Brazil's Flamengo secured a 2-0 home win over Ecuadorian side Barcelona SC in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores semifinal here on Wednesday.

The Brazil international opened the scoring in the 21st minute at the Maracana stadium by heading in at the far post after Gabriel Barbosa's perfectly weighted left-footed cross.

Henrique then doubled the hosts' lead with a simple tap-in after a slick counterattack that also involved Barbosa and Vitinho dos Santos.

The visitors were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of halftime when Nixon Molina was shown a second yellow card for a harsh challenge on Everton Ribeiro.

Flamengo also finished the match with one less player after defender Leo Pereira, a 58th-minute substitute for David Luiz, received a straight red card for an elbow to the face of Luis Leon.

The decisive second leg will be played in the Ecuadorian port city of Guayaquil next Wednesday (Sept. 29). Flamengo are aiming to win South America's top club competition for a third time, having also lifted the trophy in 1981 and 2019.

Barcelona SC are vying for a maiden Libertadores title, having finished second in 1990 and 1998.

Reigning champions Palmeiras and their Brazilian rivals Atletico Mineiro drew 0-0 in the first leg of the other semifinal on Tuesday. The return leg will be played at Atletico's Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte next Tuesday (Sept. 28).

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