Thursday, March 11, 2010

Caracas FC versus Flamengo

After watching the second half of Real Madrid's 1-1 with Lyon, that efectively eliminated the Spaniards, I went to my first football match in Caracas: the home team of Caracas FC was playing the Brazilian champions of Flamengo in the UCV Stadium in Caracas, in the first round of the Copa Libertadores (this was also the first time I attended a match in this prestigious tournament).

Of course, I largely went to see the legendary Brazilian side, but Caracas is a team that I will surely go to watch again: the fans were excellent, creating a great atmosphere in the small stadium (and may I add that as everywhere in Caracas, there are also incredibly beautiful women at football matches!). It was endearing as the proud and somewhat arrogant Caracans really thought that they had a chance against mighty Flamengo...
Caracas played a good match; they had plenty of possession and did create some chances (the goal to 1-1 by Rafael Castellín was excellent, and they hit the post on an outstanding free kick), but their pace was simply too slow; every time they regained possession, they gave the Brazilians plenty of time to get into position. They simply did not run enough (a particular sinner being Jesús Gómez, who slowed down every attack and never ran back when he lost the ball in attack) and did not take enough advantage of the slow Brazilian fullbacks.
Flamengo did not play well, but were much more clever, playing an efficient and modern counter-attacking style where they were very quick to switch many players to attack.
Their first goal came on a penalty given after such a counter-attack (a handball on a shot by the veteran Serbian player Petkovic).
In the second half, shortly after Caracas equalizer, Flamengo had a man sent-off. This gave the home-team renewed energy, and this was when they had their best chances, and Flamengo seemed shaken.
Had it not been for a foolish fan that threw something at the linesman, Caracas might have continued this rhythm. Instead, the five minutes break gave the Brazilians time to calm down and reorganize, and in the last ten minutes, they had some outstanding chances on quick coutner-attacks where their striker Vagner Love completely caught the advanced Venezuelan defence off-guard. Vagner Love scored a second for Flamengo, while in the last second Rodrigo Alvim scored a third for Flamengo on another excellent counter-attack.

It was a pity for Caracas, indeed, but after seeing them, I would have considered it a great surprise if they had been able to win; they were simply up against a much more clever and experienced team. That said, I will return to watch them; I have to learn the song:
"Eso que dice la gente
Que somos borrachos
Vagos delincuentes
No le paro bolas
Yo soy del Caracas
Y al rojo lo quiero"

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