Flamengo overcome altitude to beat Cienciano
RIO DE JANEIRO, April 9 (Reuters) - Flamengo, who have led a campaign by Brazilian clubs to end matches at high altitude, cruised to a 3-0 win over Peru's Cienciano at 3,300 metres above sea level in the Libertadores Cup on Wednesday.
The win in the historic Andean city of Cusco guaranteed Brazil's most popular club a place in the last 16 of the tournament.
Flamengo last year threatened not to play any more matches at high altitude after drawing 2-2 with Bolivia's Real Potosi at nearly 4,000 metres.
Club president Marcio Braga claimed to have the backing of FIFA after they imposed a limit of 2,750 metres for World Cup qualifiers.
But the South American Football Confederation (CSF) last week decided not to accept a FIFA recommendation to extend the limit to club matches.
Flamengo's campaigning was unpopular with the public in Cusco and the squad flew into the city on Wednesday morning amid tight security.
Around 60 protesting fans greeted the team but on the pitch they faced little resistance from poor opponents.
Renato Augusto put Flamengo ahead in the 53rd minute after being left unmarked in the penalty area.
Toro added a second in the 78th minute and Juan completed the win with a stoppage-time free kick.
Flamengo went top of Group Four with 10 points from five matches, guaranteeing a top-two finish with a game to spare. Nacional (Uruguay) have nine points and Cienciano seven.
Flamengo's fellow Brazilians Santos missed a chance to book their place when they lost 3-2 to Mexico's Guadalajara in Group Six.
Santos stayed second with seven points from five games and Guadalajara moved third into with six. Santos are at home to group leaders Cucuta, already qualified, in their final match while Guadalajara visit San Jose.