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Fluminense vs. Barcelona SC, 2018 Florida Cup: Final Score 3-1 as Betancurt’s Brace Lifts Ecuadorians

Barcelona SC takes pole position in the tournament.

Carlos Romero, The Mane Land

Fluminense came out strong, but Barcelona SC’s massive second half helped the Ecuadorian team to a 3-1 come-from-behind win at Spectrum Stadium on the UCF campus. The game was filed with fouls and sloppy passing, but all three Barcelona goals were great team goals that started from good passing.

Both teams had huge lineup changes to start the match. Only Beder Caidedo remained in the starting XI for Barcelona from its 3-2 win over Legia Warsaw. Fluminense made four changes from its shootout loss on Friday.

The game started out back and forth with neither team able to get a strong hold on it. Both teams were fouling often and were turning over the ball way too often. Fluminense had a few chances to go up but Jadson’s and Gilberto’s shots either went into the stands or straight into the chest of Barcelona’s goalkeeper Maximo Banguera.

In the 23rd minute, Fluminense broke the deadlock. A perfect through ball sent Gilberto in on goal. With a bad angle to shoot on and the defenders closing in, the wingback found a wide open Marcos Jr., who only had to pass the ball into the back of the net.

After the goal, Barcelona started to push forward, however, the Ecuadorian side could not find the last ball in and never had any real chances for most of the first half. The majority of the first half was played on the ground, as the foul count kept rising. The referee did a good job at keeping control of the match and not rewarding simulation.

The half ended with Fluminense leading 1-0, but the story of the first 45 minutes was 25 fouls between the two teams. Both sides finished with five shots and two shots on goal. Fluminense had one corner kick, while Barcelona had none.

The second half started out fast and opened way up compared to the first period. Straight from the kickoff, Fluminense got down the field but Marlon sliced the ball off the outside of his foot. Minutes later, Barcelona won its first corner of the match but Ayala over-kicked the entire team and the ball went out for a throw-in.

Ayala had another chance minutes later but his set piece was poor again. This time Fluminese kept the ball in play and went straight on the counter. They won a corner but nothing came of the short attempt.

Dinenno should have tied the game in the 55th minute. Some great passing and off-the-ball movement led to the forward being wide open at the penalty spot, but his header went wide of the goal.

Two minutes later, Betancurt found the equalizer. Barcelona controlled a bouncing ball around midfield and quickly got down to the final third. Betancurt read the play beautifully, made the perfect run inside the box to get in front of the defender, and easily passed the ball into the back of the net.

Barcelona did not step off the brakes and took the lead in the 62nd minute. Banguera grabbed a through ball and immediately looked forward. He punted the ball the length of the field and all Betancurt had to do was tap it under Felipe to put the Ecuadorian side up, 2-1.

The game settled down after the second goal as both teams struggled to push forward, needing another goal. While Fluminense was trying to tie the game back up, Barcelona needed another goal to move past Scottish side Rangers into first place on the tie breaker. As the game went on, it was Fluminense that went all out to try to scrape something from it. This led to a Barcelona counter and a perfect, upper-90 goal from Erick Castillo to put Barcelona up, 3-1.

That final kick of the game leaped Barcelona over Rangers to move into first place in Florida Cup off a tie breaker. Fluminense finished the Florida Cup in sixth place, but that may change after Saturday’s final game between Atlético Nacional and Legia Warsaw. Nacional could still win the tournament with a win by two or more goals against Legia Warsaw Saturday at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg at 6 p.m. ET.