Ronaldinho on target for Flamengo

On target ... Flamengo's Ronaldinho (Getty Images)

Brazil's Flamengo and Internacional have reached the group stage of South America's Copa Libertadores tournament.

Flamengo won 3-2 on aggregate.

Internacional of Brazil also advanced 3-2 on aggregate after holding Once Caldas to a 2-2 draw in Colombia.

Ronaldinho took the free-kick that led to Leonardo Moura's header to open the scoring in the 39th minute at the Engenhao stadium, squaring the tie at 2-2 and putting Flamengo up on the away goals rule.

Then the two-time FIFA player of the year sealed the victory in second-half stoppage-time, dribbling past a defender and finding the net from inside the area.

"We reached our initial goal which was to reach the next round," Ronaldinho said.

Flamengo will join Argentina's Lanus, Paraguay's Olimpia and Ecuador's Emelec in Group 2 of the premier club competition in Latin America.

Flamengo achieved the win despite an internal crisis due to delayed salaries to some of their top players, including former Brazil star Ronaldinho.

Some fans had been pressuring club directors to fire coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, and local media reported that former South African coach Joel Santana was set to take over his spot.

Flamengo, Brazil's most popular club, won the Copa Libertadores in 1981 with a team led by former Brazil playmaker Zico.

Internacional, the Copa Libertadores champion in 2006 and 2010, reached the group stage with the 2-2 draw in Manizales after winning 1-0 at home last week in Porto Alegre.

Once Caldas, the champion in 2004, opened the scoring with a penalty converted by Paraguayan Jorge Daniel Nunez in the third minute but Internacional took control with goals from Argentine playmaker Andres D'Alessandro in the 10th and midfielder Tinga in the 21st.

"We deserved the victory," D'Alessandro said. "We got behind early but we were able to recover."

Inter will play in Group 1 along with defending champion Santos, Peru's Juan Aurich and Bolivia's The Strongest.

Source AP