Fernando Diniz did not get where he is today by being conventional.
Next week the 49-year-old starts his spell coaching Brazil -- he is supposed to be keeping the seat warm for Carlo Ancelotti. Diniz does not have the job based on a CV full of titles -- he only has the Rio State Championship to his name -- but on the fascinating way that he sets up his teams.
On Thursday night he did move a little closer to a major title. His day job is in charge of Fluminense, who comfortably booked their place in the semifinals of the Copa Libertadores, South America's Champions League, with a 5-1 aggregate win over Olimpia of Paraguay.
Diniz has become a hero of football hipsters all over the globe with a thoroughly unorthodox and unstructured formation that often brings almost all his players over to one side of the pitch, overloading the opposition and passing their way through or suddenly switching play to the other flank.
Recently this has been abandoned for something more conventional -- a team spread all over the full width of the field with a pair of wingers. But it is still bold, as he showed with his selection for the second leg against Olimpia.
The Paraguayans were limited, but dangerous. In the previous round they caused a huge upset by coming from two goals down to eliminate reigning champions Flamengo 3-2 on aggregate -- a triumph based on their aerial power.
This tie, then, was not seen as a foregone conclusion even after Fluminense had won last week's first leg 2-0 in the Maracana stadium. They made their way down to Asuncion aware they would face a highly motivated team backed by a packed stadium.
The expectation, then, was that Diniz would pack the midfield and aim to take the sting out of the game. Instead he retained his twin striker formation from the first match, with young speedster John Kennedy partnering Argentine sharpshooter German Cano. This contained an obvious risk. Such an attacking formation might find it hard to stop Olimpia's crosses at source.
Sure enough, there was an early bombardment and veteran keeper Fábio, 42, had to produce two smart saves to block headers from Jhohan Romana, Olimpia's big centre-back. Diniz was gambling that he could get behind the Paraguayan defence, and so it proved. His side were temporarily down to 10 men -- midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso was receiving treatment. Olimpia pushed up to take advantage, and Kennedy was played in behind the line to blast home.
The thinking of Diniz had paid off, and Fluminense had a three goal cushion.
The risks were still there, though. Soon before halftime the Fluminense defence melted away and Olimpia left back Facundo Zabala levelled the scores on the night. And after the break there were times when the Brazilians were caught too deep and Olimpia wasted good opportunities. But the contest effectively ended with 20 minutes to go, and again Fluminense's positive approach was the key.
A dangerous counter attack was halted by a foul from Fernando Cardozo that brought him a red card. Down to 10 men, Olimpia's task was hopeless, and before the end they conceded two more, both scored by German Cano, a veteran Argentine who is enjoying the best spell of his career in Brazil.
It is not just Diniz who is seeking his first Libertadores win. The same applies to Fluminense, the only one of the four clubs left standing who have yet to lift the title. At the end of the month they face compatriots and twice champions Internacional -- who are certainly living up to their name in the current campaign.
Argentine coach Eduardo Coudet frequently field a side drawn from seven different nationalities, including USMNT midfielder Johnny Cardoso. The star turn is recent signing Enner Valencia, Ecuador's World Cup striker, who scored all of the team's goals in a 3-0 aggregate win over Bolivar of Bolívia.
The recent Brazilian domination of the Libertadores was enhanced by Palmeiras cruising into their fourth consecutive semifinal, seeing off surprise side Deportivo Pereira 4-0 on aggregate without breaking sweat.
They will now renew their rivalry with Argentina's Boca Juniors -- the pair have enjoyed some epic battles over the last 25 years. Boca's path to the semis has not been smooth. The attack might have been boosted by the acquisition of Edinson Cavani, but all four of their knock-out games have been drawn, the last three without goals.
Boca owe their place to the penalty saving prowess of former national team goalkeeper Sergio Romero, who has been superb in shoot-outs against Nacional of Uruguay and then compatriots Racing. If Boca are to break the recent Brazilian stranglehold they will almost certainly need more heroics from the keeper who until recently was a reserve at Manchester United.