After being eliminated before the group stage in 2022, Fluminense returned to the same Defensores del Chaco, beat the executioner Olimpia and reached the Libertadores semifinals after 15 years.
One of the remnants of the team that was defeated, Felipe Melo saw the early fall last year as fuel for the classification.
– Our Libertadores started when we were defeated here last year. From last year, if we think from the beginning to now, it’s not long, but it’s a little far. For us it is not a surprise, because we work for this and have been making a lot of effort since then. There was a change in the commission, we embraced the new idea and went on our way. It’s like I say, dreaming is an act of faith, and while we’re here, we have to dream about these achievements – he highlighted.
Fluminense’s 3-1 victory over Olimpia put Tricolor back among the top four in America for the first time since 2008.
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Villain in 2022, important in ranking in 2023
In that game, Felipe was even one of the villains. He missed one of Flu’s charges, which fell on penalties to the Paraguayans. This time, on the other hand, he had a great performance in the minutes he was on the field.
One of Fluminense’s best-known players in Paraguay, where he is called « El Loco » by fans of Olimpia and Cerro Porteño, Felipe praised the Tricolor classification, but does not expect an easy game against Internacional, for the semifinals of the Libertadores.
– I always want the easiest (laughs). But now it’s not easy. When they asked me, I didn’t want to face Olimpia either. There’s no choice anymore, whoever comes will be strong. We have maturity, work, we trust a lot that we can achieve our dream. It’s Libertadores.