Rio de Janeiro, April 15 (IANS) Brazil striker Leandro Damiao scored his 15th goal in 19 games to help Internacional defeat Ceramica 3-0 in the Rio championship.
The 22-year-old could have added a second, setting up teammate Andres D’Alessandro’s late penalty when he was tripped in the area in stoppage time.
The result secures Inter’s passage to the semifinals of the Rio championship, Xinhua reported.
Forward Gilberto was also on the score sheet in a match marred by torrential rain at the Beira-Rio stadium here Saturday.
Internacional coach Dorival Junior praised D’Alessandro’s performance after recovering from a thigh injury.
He hinted the Argentinian international could be ready to start in Thursday’s Copa Libertadores match against Juan Aurich in the Peruvian city of Chiclayo.
“He needs a good sequence of games to be at his best,” Dorival said.
“Today was important for him to come back and give us some more confidence. Everybody knows how important he is to this team.”
Victory Thursday would guarantee the team’s progress to the knockout phase of South America’s elite club tournament.
Dorival said he was still undecided on his starting lineup for the match.
“Nothing is certain at this stage. It’s going to be a difficult match so we will take our time to make sure we put together our strongest possible team.”