Flamengo, a long wait of 38 years to return to a final of Libertadores

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Lima, Nov 20 (EFE) .- The Flamengo arrives this Wednesday in Lima, the last season where it will end on Saturday with a very long wait of 38 to return to play a final of the Copa Libertadores, in which it will have River Plate as its rival .

Since the Mengão won in 1981 its first and only Liberators so far against the Chilean Cobreloa, the team with the largest number of followers in Brazil, estimated at about 40 million, began a journey through the desert that lasted almost four decades.

The chance made Flamengo go to play the second final of Libertadores of his history in the National Stadium of Santiago de Chile, the same one where he played the previous final, but the serious social crisis that crosses the southern country forced that coincidence to be broken and that the party is finally held in the Peruvian capital.

Between that final and this one, the Mercosur Cup won in 1999 was hardly a temporary and temporary relief for the voracious hunger for titles of the Rio de Janeiro club in its goal of being one of the hegemonics of Brazilian and South American football.

MANY STARS, NO LIBERATORS

Numerous Brazilian stars wore the red-and-white shirt with the aim of emulating Zico, the captain and top scorer of Flamengo, who had the honor of raising the Copa Libertadores in 1981, but all who came after were far from getting it until he arrived The current team.

This is the case of soccer players like Romario, Bebeto, Socrates, Ronaldinho and Adriano, but also of prominent foreign players such as Peru's Paolo Guerrero.

Nor could renowned Brazilian technicians such as Mário Zagallo, Vanderlei Luxembourg, Paulo Autuori, Dorival Júnior, Mano Menezes or the Colombian Reinaldo Rueda.

In the end, Flamengo reached his second final without big stars but with a lot of talent, especially in the attack with Gabriel Barbosa and Bruno Henrique, and also with trade, thanks to the experience of people with a career as goalkeeper Diego Alves, to which the blackboard of the Portuguese coach Jorge Jesus is added.

14 BRAZILIAN CHAMPIONS SINCE LAST TITLE OF FLAMENGO

However, the opportunity to add his second Libertadores not only made himself wait too long for Flamengo but also had to see how in that period until fourteen Cups were conquered by Brazilian clubs.

When Mengão was champion in 1981, only Cruzeiro and Santos had doubled the Libertadores before, which put the Carioca team as the third Brazilian club to conquer the Libertadores.

However, thereafter Gremio and Sao Paulo won three each, Porto Alegre International two, Cruzeiro and Santos added one more each, and were also once champion Atlético Mineiro, Corinthians, Palmeiras and even Vasco da Gama, the other Rio team that has also raised the Libertadores.

Thus, if Flamengo won the River, the Rio club would tie in number of titles with Inter and Cruzeiro and would remain one of Gremio, Sao Paulo and Santos.

A ROAD TO THE FINAL BETWEEN CHAMPIONS

To reach the final in Lima, Flamengo had to eliminate two of those nine Brazilian champions, who were International and Guild, the two teams from Porto Alegre, in the quarterfinals and the semifinals, respectively.

With the Colorado team he left the tie almost sentenced with a double by Bruno Henrique in the Maracana, an advantage that allowed him to play comfortably around the Beira Rio, where he drew 1-1 thanks to a goal from 'Gabigol' Barbosa.

Before Gremio he started the visitor series with a new 1-1, in a match where the victory escaped him in the last breath, then in the Maracaná raze him 5-0, with a double of 'Gabigol' and two goals from Bruno Henrique and the central defenders, both of the Spanish Pablo Marí and Rodrigo Caio.

Before these two qualifiers, Flamengo had imposed himself on the Ecuadorian Emelec on penalties in the knockout stages and in the group stage the League of Quito, the San José Boliviano and the Uruguayan Peñarol coincided, another champion of Libertadores who did not He could win but he was finally out of the competition.

Fernando Gimeno

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