Finally a South American game that does not make us envy Europe…! After the soporific Palmeiras 0 – Mineiro 0, Flamengo and Barcelona gave us a beautiful semifinal, according to the prestige of the Libertadores, to its international resonance. Soccer is the great aircraft carrier of the entertainment industry, it must entertain and they did. How…? THEY PLAYED. When you are a fan you want, above all, that your team win, when he is neutral he wants to see, admire, enjoy, that they play soccer. That they did. Fair play, offensive, intense, enjoyable, back and forth. You don’t need a five hundred million dollar roster for that, you have to want to play. Three elements do not depend on the budget: PREPARATION, TACTICAL and ATTITUDE. They both had it.
Flamengo is the best team on the continent by individualities: it lost Gerson, a magnificent Busquets-type midfielder, of placement and distribution, but David Luiz and Andreas Pereira arrived, and are followed by goalkeeper Diego Alves, defender Rodrigo Caio, the media Everton Ribeiro and William Arão and, especially, his sensational attacking duo: Gabigol and Bruno Henrique. Economic power does have a strong impact on this: any club from another country in the region could not retain them, Flamengo has the luxury of having Gabigol and Bruno Henrique four years ago. And they make a lot of difference. Also, they understand each other. And they love each other. The latter is the great secret of memorable duos or tridents: affection translates into solidarity and generosity in the game. Gabigol is desperate for the goal, it is his spiritual food, but he also loves to serve the ball on a platter to his buddy, as in the first goal. In parentheses: aside from his skill with his legs, Bruno Henrique is a specialist in the header. Thus he scored 1-0 and thus crashed another shot on the crossbar.
It’s nice to see the very popular play rubblack, honors the best traditions of the Brazilian game, although the Portuguese Jorge Jesús is no longer on the bench. Renato Gaúcho is a lovable character and was an unforgettable pointer, however as a coach he is not very offensive, he thinks more about his own goal than that of someone else. It happens that with these players it is difficult not to play well.
2-0. Flamengo won, a little for the locality, a lot for its greater specific weight. And due to the number of clear arrivals, the number could have been larger. But that’s fine, it wouldn’t have been fair with Barcelona’s courage to go out and play face to face. And because the yellow box also had a handful of very good chances to score, even before Fla. Diego Alves’ double covered at minute 6 (first to Mastriani and then to Nixon Molina) is the clearest example of when a goalkeeper saves a game. That is always a goal, except when a goalkeeper wears Superman. In the first, the bravest, Mastriani looked for what for him is checkmate: he was going strong, at the low vertex, well attached to the post, and Alves said no. Elastically he got up to block Molina’s right hand up. We are talking about a 36-year-old man. Very commendable. At 10 there was another, no longer so clear, from Byron Castillo, who demanded Alves from a closed position and at 14 one more, from Nixon Molina who sought to surprise and missed the deflected shot.
A near goal and three other clear approaches. Flamengo will never have expected Barcelona to go up in smoke like that, as soon as the duel started. It is the ponderable of the bullfighting team and the coach Fabián Bustos. And he had two more: a left-footed shot from Mastriani at 26, in front of the goal, with Alves unarmed, which went outside, and at 46 a left-footer from Michael Carcelén (a very interesting player) that again caused Diego Alves to put himself the layer.
In the middle of them, the blow: Flamengo’s first goal, which comes after a very dubious ruling by judge Andrés Cunha. In a very promising play by Barcelona in the Brazilian area, the Uruguayan charged a “I don’t know what”, aborted a goal situation and from there the counterattack that led to the opening goal was born: a brilliant center from Gabigol (in truth, a pass to the head) and unattainable header from Bruno Henrique, plummeting to the ground. A digression: friend Tite, how is Bruno Henrique not in the Brazilian team …?
There, everything was made easier for Flamengo, and then much more when Nixon Molina was sent off seconds before the end of the first stage. Fair expulsion for two yellow actions. Now, in another debatable attitude of the referee, David Luiz committed three strong fouls that warranted yellow, he did not score it and continued on the field. Flamengo could also have ten. This does not tarnish his just and beautiful victory. But it is the toll that is paid in every game against a Brazilian club or national team: the mistake is always against you.
The Barcelona fan certainly felt represented by his team, he was dignified, brave. It never got smaller, especially in the unfavorable second half; Playing with ten against Flamengo and in a field as big as Maracaná can be fatal, but he always kept his vertical and his spirits up. And just as we believe that the rematch between Mineiro and Palmeiras will be tasteless like the first leg match, We also think that, in Guayaquil, Barcelona and Flamengo they will give us another unmissable show. Is the 0-2 traceable…? Of course, it is not impossible, in football everything is feasible, it will be very complicated. Flamengo, with spaces, is lethal; thus came her second goal, a breakaway from Gabigol, a combination with Vitinho, a low center-pass for Bruno Henrique who only had to push her into the net. If Barcelona goes out of control to look for the goal, it can offer itself back and pay for it dearly. It will be a challenge of balance, go to the front, keep the offensive pulse without neglecting the casemate. You don’t have to think about scoring three goals, you have to start by scoring one, that would be the spur for a second. And if I reach the final, it will be a feat. (OR)