By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – After another week in the headlines for the wrong reasons Adriano put in a great performance against Botafogo in the Taça Rio, scoring twice in the 2-2 tie to remind the Flamengo fans and the media exactly why he is known as O Imperador (The Emperor).
For the Flamengo fans the match, at Botafogo’s Engenhão Stadium on Sunday night, was saved by Adriano’s second goal in the last minute of injury time, sending the home fans away in agony.
Botafogo’s first goal came in the 16th minute, when referee Wagner do Nascimento gave a dubious penalty which Herrera narrowly slotted past the in-form Bruno.
Just five minutes later, Adriano found the equalizer, set up well by teammate Kleberson. The Imperador refused to celebrate in protest against comments by the media about his personal life in the last few weeks, but his team were now on top as the half finished 1-1.
In the second half, however, things started to go the home side’s way. In the 54th minute Herrera scored once again and Botafogo reclaimed the lead to the clear delight of their fans. Flamengo kept pressing for the tie, but couldn’t beat the in-form Jefferson who was having a particularly inspired night between the posts.
Then, deep in injury time when the match seemed to be a lost cause for Flamengo, Adriano found the equalizer with a solid header. It was his eighth goal in the Campeonato Carioca, the same number as Botafogo’s Herrera.
With the result, Flamengo maintains the Group A lead, with thirteen points from five matches, while Botafogo leads Group B with ten points.
On Sunday, Fluminense beat Resende 2-1 at the Raulino de Oliveira Stadium, in Volta Redonda. Both of their goals were scored by newcomer André Lima, with Thiago Bastos scoring for Resende. With that result Fluminense is now 2nd in Group A, with the same 13 points as Flamengo, but behind on goal difference.
While Flamengo, Botafogo and Fluminense had favorable results and are stabilized in the top positions of their groups, the same thing cannot be said of Vasco da Gama. The team played Olaria on Saturday, in Volta Redonda, and was defeated by 1-0.
The goal was scored by Cacá, in the 12th minute. It was the first time in the 2010 Campeonato Carioca that one of the “Big Four” was defeated by one of the smaller teams and the last time Vasco had been defeated by Olaria was in 1971. They now find themselves third in Group B with nine points with America in 2nd position just one point ahead.
In the 6th round of Taça Rio, Flamengo, Vasco and Fluminense will play Tigres, Americano and Madureira, respectively, on Wednesday night. On Thursday Botafogo takes on Volta Redonda.