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MATCHES
 
 
Goals from Arizala, Boselli and Peña secured the way for Leon to advance to the knockout stage of the Copa Libertadores after a goal-filled first half cranked up the intensity against Flamengo.
Leon Win Secures Ticket to Knockout Stage of Copa Libertadores
04/09/2014
 
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - APRIL 09: Players of Leon celebrate a scored goal against Flamengo durin...

Goals from Arizala, Boselli and Peña secured the way for Leon to advance to the knockout stage of the Copa Libertadores after a goal-filled first half cranked up the intensity against Flamengo.


With a ticket to the knockout stages of the tournament on the line, both sides went into the match determined to seek out the result needed for them to advance to the next round.


Soon after the opening minutes of competitive and intense football between the Brazilian and Mexican club, it would be the visitors who would get their name on the scoreboard. 


After being fouled near the sideline following a superb side-to-side cross by midfielder Luis Montes, former Morelia Monarcas player Elias Hernandez would be the one to take the resulting free kick; placing a dangerous cross into the Flamengo area for Colombian forward Franco Arizala to head in the ball for the one nil score in the 20th minute, this despite being wrapped in a headlock by fullback Andre Santos.


Taking advantage of a wobbly Flamengo side that hadn’t yet assimilated going down on the scoreboard, Leon would be presented with a series of opportunities to extend their lead on the board, however poor finishing and an inability to finish plays prevented the visitors from doubling their lead.


A long distance Paulinho shot aside, the home team had struggled to generate any chances on their opponent’s goal amidst the Leon assault. Still, the home side managed to catch a break after a horrendous attempt to collect a cross by Mexican goalkeeper William Yarbough in a free-kick, left Andre Santos to makeup his previous error and head in the cross above Yarbough for an equalizing goal in the 30th minute.


However, as soon as Flamengo finished celebrating their goal, Leon had once again taken the lead. One minute had passed since Yarbough’s mistake when Hernandez was able to produce yet another dangerous cross into the box, this time for argentine striker Mauro Boselli who headed the ball next to the post to immediately regain the lead with a 2-1 score in the 31st minute.


But not even five minutes had passed before Flamengo once again were able to equalize the match with a little help from yet another Leon player. This time it would be center back Ignacio Gonzalez who would end up playing a part in the rival’s goal after deflecting a poor volley attempt by Flamengo striker Alecsandro, sending Yarbrough the wrong way for the 2-2 score in the 34th minute.


Come the second half, both sides opted to take a more conservative approach, resulting in a series of midfield battles for large spells of the match. As Flamengo continued to add more intensity in their desperation of seeing their hopes to make it to the next round hanged in the balance of a win, the visitors began to take a more calm approach knowing that a draw would be enough to secure their path to the next stage of the competition.


Playing around with their rival’s frustration, Leon players began to fall to the ground as desperation began to sync into the hosts, and in the end it would be their undoing.


Failing to track back in a Leon counter attack, a poor attempt by the Flamengo defense to clear a through ball allowed Elias Hernandez to once again find his way into the penalty box. But despite a great run to help out the backline, an Everton slide would unintentionally assist an incoming Carlos Peña who simply pushed the ball into the back of the net for the final 3-2 scoreline.


With the final result in Brazil, Leon advance to the knockout phase after finishing second in their group with ten points, one point behind a surprising Bolivar side, while Flamengo bow-out of the tournament in third place with seven points. 

 
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