By Greg Oldfield, special to the Florida Cup
Before a record Florida Cup crowd of 14,500 fans inside of Orlando City Stadium, Jean Lucas’s first-half goal and David Abraham’s red card were the difference in the final match between Flamengo and Eintracht Frankfurt earlier today. With both teams victorious on Thursday night, the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader was set up as a winner-take-all final.
Flamengo, who started with a mixed side, had more quality chances in the early stages of the game, but Eintracht Frankfurt carried a majority of the play. In the 4th minute, Abraham was forced to track down Jean Lucas from behind, preventing the midfielder’s clear chance at goal. Later in the 29th minute, Felipe Kostić had to do the same, catching Henrique Dourado from behind to stop the Flamengo forward’s breakaway.
Sébastian Rode, who returned to Frankfurt on loan this month from Dortmund, created the first solid chance for Frankfurt when his in-swinging cross from the left corner of the penalty area just missed Danny Da Costa on the far post in the 11th minute. The first Frankfurt counter-attack came two minutes later off a quick combination in the midfield to Luka Jović on the right side of the field with space. The Serbian striker picked out Ante Rebić with a long pass to the far-left side. Rebić cut inside, cut back again, and his left-footed shot went over the crossbar. Rebić, the most dangerous player in the first half, found a lot of success attacking the from the left side, but the Flamengo defenders did well to prevent any solid Frankfurt chances in front of goal.
The tone of the match changed in the 25th minute when Abraham was sent off for a forearm shove to Paris Da Motta. The two players had been tangled up in front of goal on a corner kick attempt, and after a brief exchange of hand taps, Abraham, though light, made contact with the Flamengo midfielder’s face, and the referee intervened quickly with the red card.
Flamengo, encouraged by the energetic pro-Flamengo crowd that was larger than Thursday night’s game, took advantage of the extra player and began taking more chances down the field. They were rewarded in the 40th minute when Jean Lucas scored. Lucas’s shot came off Rodinei’s pass across the top of the box from right to left, and though he didn’t hit it clean, Lucas’s right-footed shot still had enough power to beat Kevin Trapp into the far corner.
Playing a man up, Flamengo controlled play throughout the second half with Frankfurt content to sit back and wait for a chance to counter. With fresh legs on both sides, it took some time for Flamengo to push the game, but soon they created a flurry of chances. In the 65th minute, Vitinho cut down the left side and found William Arão twelve yards out racing toward the penalty spot, but his shot rolled into Frankfurt keeper Jan Zimmerman’s hands. Vitinho’s next chance came a few minutes later off a header from Diego, which just sailed over the bar. Arão had another chance in the 80th, running onto a low chip from Diego, but he shot high as well.
Frankfurt’s only shot on goal in the second half came in the 84th minute from Haller, but his attempt from distance went straight at keeper César and slowed from a deflection. In the 86th minute, Vitinho broke through the defense again, cutting the ball back to Renê, but the defender’s strike was stopped by Zimmerman, who was called into action again minutes later when he made a strong save on Éverton Ribeiro’s close-range shot. In the final minutes, Flamengo tried to score one more goal for the raucous fans at the north end but could not find the finish.
Gustavo Cuéllar was named Man of the Match, and Fernando Uribe took home the Golden Boot as the Florida Cup’s top scorer.
40’: Jean Lucas
Yellow card: Jean Lucas (40’), Trauco (45’), Rode (45’), Russ (78’)
Red Card: Abraham (25’)