By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Botafogo were crowned 2013 Campeonato Carioca champions yesterday after winning the Taça Rio. A 1-0 win over Laranjeiras outfit Fluminense gave them the trophy, and with the Taça Guanabara success in March, was sufficient to give them the state crown, the twentieth in their history.
Yesterday’s final, played at the Estádio Raulino Oliveira in Volta Redonda, was a feisty affair from the off. Tackles flew in from the first whistle and four players were booked in the opening exchanges; Thiago Neves and Wellington Nem for Flu, Marcelo Mattos and Gabriel for the Glorioso.
The game’s only goal came on the stroke of half-time. Lucas’ long-range shot fell kindly for Rafael Marques, who found the bottom right-hand corner. Marques had previously had a legitimate strike ruled out for offside.
The second half was quieter than the first but Botafogo had the run of the play, center-half Dória having an effort correctly ruled out this time, the referee awarding a penalty instead.
As time began to run out and Fluminense’s desperation grew Digão pulled Bolívar to the ground inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Seedorf sent the spot-kick against the crossbar.
Yet in the end it mattered not as Flu found little cohesion to mount a comeback. Even before the final whistle Tricolor coach Abel Braga congratulated his opposite number Oswaldo de Oliveira on his success.
The result meant Botafogo finished the Taça Rio with a hundred percent record; nine wins from nine. Their excellent form puts the club in good stead to challenge for this year’s Copa do Brasil and Campeonato Brasileirão titles.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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