By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Campeonato Carioca, the Rio de Janeiro state’s soccer championship, will have its 110th edition beginning on next Saturday, January 16th.
Sixteen teams are involved in the competition, split up in two groups: Flamengo, Fluminense, Bangu, Boavista, Americano, Duque de Caxias, Volta Redonda and Olaria are on Group A, while Vasco da Gama, Botafogo, Macaé, Friburguense, Resende, Tigres do Brasil, Madureira and América were put on Group B.
In the first leg of the championship, called Taça Guanabara, each squad plays against the other seven teams of its group. The two teams with the best results in each group advance to the semifinals, and the winners of this match go to the Taça Guanabara final. The winner of Taça Guanabara is automatically qualified to the Campeonato Carioca final.
The second leg, called Taça Rio is a little bit different. The group division remains the same, except that this time, the teams play against the other group’s eight squads. Once again, the two first placers of each group advance to the semis, then there is the Taça Rio final. After that, the winner of Taça Guanabara plays against the winner of Taça Rio in a final match to decide who is the state champion.
This year’s edition of the Campeonato Carioca has one major change: the experimental inclusion of technical time-outs. FERJ, the Rio de Janeiro State Soccer Federation decided to include two two-minute interruptions in each half, so the coaches can give instructions to their teams. The time-outs will happen every match of the tournament, except the ones that are going to be broadcast live on TV, and will take place at the 20th minute of each half.
The first round of the competition begins on Saturday. On that day, five games will happen: Bangu x Boavista, Olaria x Volta Redonda, Madureira x América, Vasco x Tigres and Macaé x Botafogo. The other three games of the round will occur in the following day: Flamengo X Macaé, Friburguense X Resende and Americano X Fluminense.
Vasco’s match against Tigres on Saturday will happen at the São Januário Stadium at 5PM, while Botafogo’s one against Macaé will be held at the Godofredo Cruz Stadium, at Campos dos Goytacazes, a city in the northern part of the state, at 7:30PM.
On Sunday, Fluminense will also play at the Godofredo Cruz Stadium, against Americano. The match will happen at 7:30PM. Current state and national champion Flamengo will also debut in the competition on Sunday, playing against Duque de Caxias. The match will take place at the Maracanã Stadium at 5PM.