Dubai, UAE, April 18, 2018: Flamengo’s Reinier Jesus Carvalho, the leading goal-scorer at the 8th Hamdan Bin Mohammed U16 International Football Championship, is hoping to keep his form going in Thursday’s final against Real Madrid and help his team return home as champions.
Flamengo, the Brazil U16 champions, have looked in a league of their own at the Dubai Police Officers’ Club, cruising into the semis with three emphatic wins in the group stages. They opened with a 5-1 win over Al Wasl and then routed Egypt’s Al Ahly 8-0 before closing with a 3-0 win over PSV Eindhoven.
Up against 2016 finalist Borussia Dortmund in the semis, the Brazilians, who are making their first appearance at the tournament, were ruthless as ever, dismissing the Germans 8-2 to set up a title-clash with 2015 finalist Real Madrid, who edged PSV 1-0 in the other semis.
Carvalho, the leading scorer in the group stages with six goals, booted home three more in the semis against Dortmund to take his tally to nine, but winning the Golden Boot is not his real target.
“My goal is to win the title,” he said. “Scoring nine goals in four matches is good and I am really happy, but it would not be possible without my teammates. So all of them deserve credit. Without their contribution, it would not be possible.
“We still have one match to play – one very big match and hopefully we can continue performing like this as a team. I hope I can continue scoring goals and help my team win the title.”
Lazaro Vinicius Marques also scored three goals in the rout, while Douglas Francisco De Souza Rodrigues and Pedro Arthur Bitencourt Machado scored the other two for Flamengo. Dortmund’s two goals were scored by Nick Selutin.
For Real, goalkeeper Marcos Ortega Lara had an outstanding match under the bar, making sure Pablo Suarez Contioso’s lone strike, in the added minutes ofthe first half, would be enough to take the Spaniards into the final.
“We are looking forward to the final,” said Ramon Cardoso Lima, the Flamengo coach. “All the teams who have come here, they have one common goal – to win the title. So we have not taken any team lightly.
“We have played good, consistent football. My team has shown a lot of intensity, a lot desire, and that’s what has worked for us. Now, we hope we will keep this intensity going in the final as well.”