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Gremio, Flamengo draw in 1st leg of Copa Libertadores semi

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SAO PAULO (AP) Gremio and Flamengo drew 1-1 on Wednesday night in the Brazilian semifinal tie of the Copa Libertadores.

Striker Bruno Henrique opened the scoring for Flamengo with a header in the 69th minute. Substitute Pepe tied it in the 88th from close range to the relief of home fans at a crowded Arena do Gremio in Porto Alegre. Flamengo had two goals disallowed by video review in the first half.

The second leg will be played Oct. 23 at the Maracana stadium in Rio.

Gremio, the 2017 champion, is seeking its fourth Copa Libertadores trophy, and Flamengo its second.

The winner of the Brazilian semifinal will face an Argentinian rival in the Nov. 23 decider in Santiago. On Tuesday, defending champions River Plate beat Boca Juniors 2-0 at home in the first leg in Buenos Aires.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Report: Balotelli in talks to sign in Brazil

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Mario Balotelli may have a chance to revive his career across the Atlantic Ocean.

According to Brazilian publication Globo Esporte, Brazilian giant Flamengo is in talks to sign Balotelli. Balotelli is currently a free agent after spending the last five months with Marseille.

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Balotelli scored eight goals in 15 Ligue 1 games last season but wasn’t in Andre Villas-Boas’ plans. The move to a Marseille came after two and a half years with Nice, where it seemed Balotelli had gotten back on his feet.

The former Italian international, known for his outrageous skill as well as his outrageous behavior, struggled mightily between spells at AC Milan and Liverpool.

According to Globo Esporte, Flamengo’s new signing Gabriel “Gabigol” Barbosa recommended Balotelli from their time together at Milan.

Flamengo plays first match since academy fire that killed 10

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RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazilian soccer club Flamengo played its first match since the fire that killed 10 of its academy players at its training ground Feb. 8, losing 1-0 to rival Fluminense on Thursday night.

Nearly 30,000 fans, many with white balloons, banners and flags, attended the state championship match.

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The game was initially scheduled for Saturday, only hours after the deadly incident.

Flamengo supporters sang a song to honor the dead at 10 minutes of play.

Luciano scored for Fluminense.

Survivor Cauan Emanuel, who was released from hospital this week, was filmed crying in the tribunes of the Maracana, sided by family members and Flamengo fans.

The victims were between 14 and 16 years old. Police are still investigating what caused the fire.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Fire kills 10 at Flamengo’s training ground

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Tragedy has struck at Flamengo’s training ground.

10 people have been killed and three people were injured in a fire which broke out in a building where youth team players were staying overnight.

The incident took place in Rio de Janeiro at 5 a.m. local time, and news reports claim that the victims are 14-17 years old and were sleeping at a lodge.

“The kids from the Flamengo youth team were sleeping there at the time,” firefighter Douglas Henaut told Globo News.

It occurred at the brand new Ninho do Urubu facility which opened just two months ago.

No information has arrived about the cause of the fire.

Brazilian soccer players push-start ambulance

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SAO PAULO (AP) Brazilian soccer players have had to push-start an ambulance to get an injured comrade on his way to the hospital.

The incident occurred Saturday during a top-division match in Brasilia between two rivals from Rio de Janeiro, Flamengo and Vasco de Gama.

An ambulance was called into the pitch when Vasco da Gama’s Bruno Silva was knocked out in a clash for the ball.

Silva was loaded into the ambulance, but its engine failed to turn over.

Video broadcast by Brazil’s Globoesporte website showed eight players from both teams pushing the ambulance until it started, and it then drove away.

Silva was released from the hospital and returned to Rio de Janeiro on Sunday after tests showed he was in good condition.