Copa Libertadores 2010 had promised to be even better than previous years and so far it has totally lived up to expectations.
Featured is an all star mix ranging from the legendary Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos to lesser mortals the likes of Adriano, Veron, Hernanes, D'Alessandro and of course the countless fresh talent inherent to South America.
In the group stage of the competition Brazilian Champions Flamengo kicked off their participation with a 2-0 home victory versus Universidad Catolica.
Playing with 10 men for most of the match after Willian was sent off early, Flamengo rose to the occasion with some great play by Leo Moura who scored a scintillating free kick and followed up with a fantastic run which left Adriano with only the keeper to beat.
Vagner Love also missed a penalty which could have made the win even bigger. Love did have some moments of glory but the night belonged to Leo Moura.
Former Libertadores and World Champions, Internacional handled by Uruguyan coach Jorge Fossati ex- LDU and captained by Argentinain Pablo Guinazu, had to struggle a bit to come from behind and overcome Equador's Emelec 2-1.
The result was nevertheless historic handing Inter their first ever opening match win in the tournament.
Cruzeiro recovered from their earlier 9 man 2-0 defeat to Velez with a 4-1 drubbing of Colo Colo. However, Velez still lead group 7 with a perfect record.
Corinthians faced what their coach Mano Menezes described as the best defense in the world. According to Menezes only the Italian school of defense can compete with Uruguay at their best.
Racing albeit a smaller club by most standards did defend and defended well versus Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos and company.
Racing actually went out in front with a Cauteruccio first minute goal and then proceeded to defend for the rest of the match.
Corinthians eventually came from behind to win 2-1 thanks to an Elias double.
But then there's Ronaldo.....He didn't score any of those fantastic goals like he did in last year's Paulistão, he had a bit of a participation in the second goal .....but the dribbles.....THE DRIBBLES....THE GLORIOUS DRIBBLES.
Even in extreme slow motion they are unbelievable. How does this man's brain work? Is he for real? The Europeans gave him the most fitting nickname and probably the only word which really best describes him and his play .....THE PHENOMENON.
After the match a much fitter looking Ronaldo and back to his traditional shaved head, told reporters that he was a bit out of form due to the lack of match practice.
Well folks, if that was out of form then Brazil's national coach Dunga is in for a real headache in the coming months if the phenomenon finally finds what he considers good form.
Dunga has already made it clear that he would not be taking Ronaldo to South Africa along with others like Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos and just about any of the so called glamour players who participated in the 2006 fiasco.
However the problem with Ronaldo is that he plays in Brazil.
Even before 2006 and without a doubt afterwards, the Brazilian people have demanded a more home based national squad with which people can identify and which plays true Brazilian football.
Certainly if the Phenomenon keeps this up the pressure on Dunga will be unbearable.
After last night all I can say is never wright the phenomenon off.....when will they ever learn?
So the Libertadores had a little of everything with exciting clashes, beautiful football and phenomenal stuff that just makes us fans go..WOW.
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