RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Bruno Henrique scored twice in the first half as Brazilian side Flamengo beat Ecuador’s Barcelona 2-0 in the first leg of their Copa Libertadores semi-final on Wednesday.
Flamengo, champions in 2019, took the lead after 21 minutes with a Bruno Henrique header before the former Santos and Wolfsburg striker doubled their lead 18 minutes later when he finished off a fine passing move.
Barcelona, who are looking to make their third Libertadores final after losing their previous two in 1990 and 1998, started brightly and forced Diego Alves into several good saves but after falling behind they never looked like recovering.
Their task became even more difficult on the stroke of half time when Nixon Molina was sent off.
Flamengo, though, could not make their man advantage count in an uneventful second half and suffered their own red card when Leo Pereira was sent off with two minutes remaining.
The second leg will be played in Guayaquil next Wednesday.
The other semi-final is an all-Brazilian tie between Atletico Mineiro and Palmeiras.
(Reporting by Andrew Downie in London; Editing by Peter Rutherford)