Flu vs LDU: kill or be killed at the Maracanã

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If you listen to what the Fluminense folks have been saying for the past few days, a Brazilian win in Wednesday's Copa Libertadores final second leg at the Maracanã against LDU is as certain as death and taxes.

It seems the 4-2 defeat in the Quito game never happened. Coach Renato Gaúcho and his players are backing themselves in such a way that even the party-happy Brazilian press is talking about “excess of confidence.”

Claudio Bieler celebrates giving LDU first-leg lead

Here’s a selection of quotes from the self-assured tricolores:

“We’ll leave the Maracanã stadium as champions. We’ll score as many goals as necessary.” – coach Renato Gaúcho

“I don’t know how I’m going to lift the trophy. I’ll see that at the moment.” – captain Luiz Alberto
“Fluminense has overcome tougher situations against bigger clubs like São Paulo and Boca Juniors. With all due respect, LDU won’t hold us down.” – coach Renato Gaúcho

“LDU’s best player won’t show up to the Maracanã game. It’s the altitude.” – forward Washington
“We’re not desperate. It’s LDU who should be desperate, because they’ll face Fluminense in a sold out Maracanã.” – coach Renato Gaúcho
For some unknown reasons, they’re talking the talk like there was no tomorrow. And there won’t be one if they don’t walk the walk.

Losing the Copa Libertadores would have a devastating effect on Fluminense, whose continental obsession is driving them rock bottom in the National Championship.

Their five losses and three draws in eight games have been tolerated by the fans only because they’ve been promised the Libertadores.

Bouncing back from such a difficult situation without the South American crown won’t be easy.

Dario Conca keeps Fluminense in contention

Sure, Fluminense has what it takes to reverse LDU’s advantage.

Winning by two goals at the Maracanã isn’t a herculean task, but they should be aware that only once in the history of the Libertadores final has a team overcame a two-goal deficit to take the crown – Colombia’s Atlético Nacional in 1989.

And there’s also LDU in their way. At first, the Ecuatorians didn’t mind the bold interviews from the Brazilians. Coach Edgardo Bauza had said Renato Gaúcho was right in believing his team. But such despise for LDU made him change his mind, and send a message to his fellow gaffer.

“If I was a soothsayer, I wouldn’t be a football coach. I’d be rich predicting things. What I can assure is that, to take the Libertadores from us, they’ll have to kill us.”