Sampaoli gets Flamengo back on track for Copa Libertadores defense with Nublense win

April 20 – Jorge Sampaoli (pictured) kickstarted his Flamengo reign with a 2-0 victory against Chile’s Nublense to get the club’s Copa Libertadores campaign back on track. 

Last weekend the Argentine arrived in the Carioca capital to succeed Vitor Pereira as the manager of Brazil’s biggest club and on debut against Nublense on Wednesday, Sampaoli immediately tweaked the starting XI to his liking with different personnel and a new tactical formation.

Flamengo opened in a 3-5-2 formation with Marinho on the right side, Gerson in an advanced position and Pedro and Gabriel Barbosa forming the attacking partnership. In the second half, he opted for three strikers in a 4-3-3 formation.

“About the changes in the team today, I think it will all be a matter of time,” said Sampaoli.

“Today the team had a lot of initiative. I am very grateful for the team’s intention, but we are certainly a long way from playing in the style of play that interests me. Without a doubt, I’ve only been here one day, and I’ve only had two video conversations, and one training session. Time is in short supply, but fundamentally there are matches every three days so we need to intensify preparation everywhere to improve Flamengo.”

In front of 48,895 fans at the Maracana, Pedro scored both goals for the hosts to extinguish memories of the surprise defeat against Aucas a fortnight ago on the first day of the new Libertadores season. The defending champions will play Racing Club on May 5. Before that, they have domestic commitments against Internacional, Botafogo and Maringa.

In other results in the Copa Libertadores on Wednesday, ten-man River Plate defeated Sporting Cristal 4-2 but Sao Paulo giants Corinthians lost 1-0 at home to Argentinos Juniors.

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