Flamengo will face Colombian Deportivo Tolima this Wednesday in the second leg of the round of 16 of the Copa Libertadores, which they arrive with an advantage and reinforced after the incorporation of several players who were out due to injury or COVID.
In the first leg, last week, the Brazilians won 0-1 in their visit to the Colombian city of Ibagué, thanks to a goal from midfielder Andreas Pereira, who said goodbye to the Rio de Janeiro club and returned to Manchester United, owner of their federal rights.
Flamengo is one step away from sealing its ticket, since a goalless draw will be enough to grant it a pass to the quarterfinals, in which the winner will face Corinthians or Boca Juniors, who decide their classification this Tuesday at the Bombonera de Buenos Aires after finishing the first leg goalless.
The team from Rio de Janeiro comes into the match after beating Santos 1-2 on matchday fifteen of the Brazilian Championship, in which they continue to occupy a modest position in the center of the standings with 21 points, eight less than the leader Palmeiras.
Facing the duel against Tolima, coach Dorival Júnior could count on the return of important players such as defender Rodrigo Caio, who joined the rest of the team in training on Monday after recovering from a left knee injury that had kept away from the field of play during the last week.
Flamengo also recovers a retinue of players who were with COVID-19, including goalkeeper Matheus Cunha, midfielder Willian Arão, defender Fabrício Bruno and striker Matheus França.
Who is still in doubt is the goalkeeper Diego Alves, who, despite having tested negative after contracting COVID, continues to recover from physical wear.
Midfielder João Gomes, who was suspended after receiving his third yellow card, will also be available for the game against Tolima.
Despite Flamengo’s advantage, the experienced attacker Juan Fernando Caicedo admitted in an interview with a Colombian media outlet that the team has the “tranquility” of knowing that it is “playing well” and “doing things in the best way”.
For Caicedo, the key to overcoming the series is to “keep working” and do it “with the best motivation”
“We depend on ourselves,” he stressed.
Those led by Hernán Torres, who qualified for the round of 16 after finishing the group stage in second place in Group D, have not lost everything and could advance if they win at least 2-0.
The match between Flamengo and Tolima is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. at the legendary Maracaná stadium in Rio de Janeiro and will be refereed by Paraguayan Mario Díaz de Vivar. EFE