By Lisa Flueckiger, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – After eleven matches of the first phase of the Campeonato Carioca (before the semifinal and final rounds) Rio’s big four, Flamengo, Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco top the table together with underdog Madureira, a Brasileirão Série C (third league) club.
Botafogo is the current leader of the Campeonato Carioca with 28 points and nine victories in eleven games. The alvinegros that have been relegated to this year’s Série B for the national championship and just couldn’t find the net in their last games of the 2014 season, have so far had the best attack in the state competition together with Flamengo with 24 goals.
This past weekend, Botafogo won their game against Cabofriense with 1-0 thanks to a goal from Sassá after 66 minutes.
Vice-leader, and surprise to everyone, is the football (soccer) club from Madureira with 26 points after eleven games and a better goal difference than Flamengo and Vasco.
The Série C team has won their last five games and ended the weekend with a 3-0 victory over Volta Redonda. Rodrigo Pinho scored two goals and now leads the scorer list together with Flamengo’s Marcelo Cirino with eight goals each.
Third-placed Flamengo won the clássico this weekend over fellow big four club and current fourth positioned Vasco da Gama with 2-1, highlights of the game however were the heavy rain and a fight at the end between the teams.
After little more than twenty minutes the game had to be interrupted for around fifty minutes due to the heavy rains in Rio de Janeiro and the flooding of the Maracanã pitch and in the final minutes of the match, both players from Vasco and Flamengo let their emotions take over and started a fight, leading to four red cards (two for each team) and the game ending with just eighteen players on the field.
Both Flamengo and Vasco are tied with Madureira with 26 points and occupy the spots that will lead to the classification for the semifinal after all fifteen rounds have been played.
Just under the top four with only 22 points currently stands Fluminense, tied in points with sixth-placed Macaé. The club from Laranjeiras already won seven games this season, but also lost three and this weekend they tied 1-1 with Tigres from Duque de Caxias.