Although he did not open the scoring at the Maracaná, Enner Valencia caused the dismissal of Fluminense’s Samuel Xavier and then – four minutes later – Internacional achieved the equalizer through Hugo Mallo in a controversial game that was validated by VAR. Decisive participation of the Ecuadorian striker from the Porto Alegre team in this first leg semifinal of the 2023 Copa Libertadores.
Fluminense took the lead after 10 minutes through Argentine Germán Cano after an attack in the left sector of Inter. He is the top scorer in this edition of the tournament.
Seconds before Valencia had a very clear chance with a very strong shot inside the area, but it was not enough to score the first goal of the night in Rio.
There were incredible interventions by the Uruguayan goalkeeper Sergio Rochet ten minutes later. Everything changed at the Maracaná as the end of the first half approached. Minute 44. Right back Samuel Xavier, previously cautioned with a yellow card in the 40th minute, arrived at the wrong time in the dispute for the ball and stepped on Valencia’s right foot.
With ten Fluminense players, Inter was forced to find a goal that they could achieve a priori through Hugo Mallo. VAR checked to see if the Spanish defender was offside, but the play was very fair and Vitao moved the opposing player with his foot. The score increased to 1-1 with the permission of Argentine referee Darío Herrera assistants.
The duel ended in a 2-2 draw after goals from Alan Patrick and the albiceleste’s Cano.
The two clubs will have to define one of the finalists of the Libertadores on October 4 in the second leg, where, although the series is open and whoever wins any points will advance, Inter will have the advantage of playing at home, the Beira Río stadium in Porto Alegre. (D)