BUENOS AIRES, Dec 6 (Reuters) - Independiente fell behind to an early goal but bounced back to beat Flamengo 2-1 at home in the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final on Wednesday.
The Argentine side will now go to Rio de Janeiro to defend a slim lead in next week’s return leg.
Flamengo got off to an excellent start at the Libertadores de America stadium when captain Rever rose above the Independiente defence to head home a free kick from left back Miguel Trauco after just eight minutes.
But the home side came more into the game as the first half progressed and after missing a couple of half chances they got the equaliser in 28 minutes when Emmanuel Gigliotti finished a sweeping counter attack by firing home from 12 yards.
The Argentines, who had lost only two of their previous 22 Sudamericana ties at home, were the better side immediately after the break and they got the winner eight minutes into the second period thanks to a superb volley from Maximiliano Meza.
The attacking midfielder met a cross from Ezequiel Barco with poise and power, and although Flamengo went all out for an equaliser, their final pass was either too slack or a home defender was on hand with a tackle or a block.
“We lost to a good goal, we had chances to equalise and even to take the lead when it was 1-1 but now we need to rest and count on the home support to turn this around,” Flamengo defender Juan said.
The return leg will take place at the Maracana stadium on Dec. 13. (Reporting by Andrew Downie in Sao Paulo; Editing by Ian Ransom)