Flamengo sidestep Easter egging: Lessons from South America

Charlie Reynolds looks back at another eventful week in South American football - both on and off the pitch

By Charlie Reynolds

Flamengo eggscape fans’ angry welcome

Flamengo, who face the prospect of crashing out of the Copa Libertadores at the group stage, managed to avoid a group of angry fans who had planned to pelt them with eggs as they arrived at Rio de Janeiro airport following their 3-2 defeat by Ecuadorian side Emelec on Thursday. The team which includes former Ballon d’Or winner Ronaldinho were shepherded through a secret exit to ensure that the disgruntled fans never even saw them. Flamengo, who are currently bottom of Group Two, must beat Argentine group toppers Lanús and hope for a draw between Paraguay’s Olimpia and Emelec.

Los Millonarios hoping to bring stars home

Fallen Argentine giants River Plate revealed this weekend that they will try to bring former club heroes Pablo Aimar and Javier Saviola back to the club next season. The pair, who now both play for Benfica, had huge success as youngsters at the Buenos Aires club. Aimar won four league titles as well as the Copa Libertadores in 1996 while Saviola scored 45 goals in 86 games, and collected two Primera trophies in the process. River’s president, Daniel Passarella, who captained Argentina at the 1978 World Cup, is said to be very keen to bring the stars back to Nuñez and may travel to Lisbon himself in order to persuade them.

River youngsters in carjacking drama

River Plate youngsters Daniel Villalva and Juan Cazares were the victims of an armed carjacking as they drove to training last Friday. They were intercepted by three gunmen on a motorway overpass and Villalva’s Volkswagen Fox as well as valuables belonging to both players were taken in the latest incident of Argentina’s crime phenomenon known as secuestro express, or express kidnapping. Villalva and Ecuadorian Under-20 international Cazares, who were said to be shaken but unharmed following the incident, eventually had to hitchhike to the club’s Ezieza training ground.

Pelé joins Twitter

Brazil legend Pelé is the latest high-profile footballer to join the social networking site Twitter. The 71-year-old joined on Monday and has already amassed more than 137,000 followers. The winner of three World Cups first post was: “Hello world, thank you for welcoming me to Twitter. I am very excited to share my life with you. Love, Pele.” What the future holds for Pelé and Twitter only time will tell but we can only hope Diego Maradona now follows his lead so the two can take their bitter rivalry to the Twittersphere.

Five Vasco players sent off following post-match brawl

Vasco will be without five players for their next game after they received red cards for their role in an on field battle following the final whistle of their home game with Flamengo on Friday. The visitors were awarded a controversial stoppage time penalty which Ronaldinho converted to give his side a 2-1 win. Angered by the decision, several Vasco players surrounded the referee Wagner dos Santos Rosa, who had to be protected by military police. Subsequently it was reported that in the referee’s post-game report, five players – Diego Souza, Felipe Bastos, Fagner, Rodolfo and Eduardo Costa – were given red cards for their part in the melee.

Goal of the Week:Jhasmani Campos superb solo effort

This week’s goal comes from the Bolivian league and is a simply fantastic individual goal from Club Bolivar’s Jhasmani Campos whose fancy footwork reminiscent of that Zlatan Ibrahimovic goal for Ajax proved far too much for the Real Mamore defenders.

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