By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The group stage of the 2014 Campeonato Carioca drew to a close yesterday, with the top four teams progressing to the semi-finals next week. Flamengo, Fluminense, Vasco and surprise package Cabofriense made the cut, with Botafogo finishing in a lowly ninth place with just four wins from fifteen games.
Flamengo won a goalfest 5-3 against Cabofriense yesterday at the Maracanã to confirm their dominance in the state championship. The two will also meet next week in the semis, as Fla won the group, earning 38 points in the process, and the Cabo Frio club finished in fourth.
Alecsandro bagged a brace and in truth the Rubro-Negro had put their opponents out of sight early in the second half, before Cabofriense staged a valiant comeback. Paulinho, Luiz Antônio and Mugni also netted as Mengo ran riot before the knock-out games, to be played this Wednesday and Saturday.
Fluminense finished runners-up and rounded off the group with a comfortable 3-1 win over Volta Redonda in Macaé. Coach Renato Gaúcho paired Fred and Walter in attack and the ploy paid off.
In the early days of what looks an encouraging partnership, both forwards got on the scoresheet prior to a semi-final clash with Vasco da Gama this week. Wágner netted Fluminense‘s third before Tiago Aamaral scored a consolation for Volta.
Vasco warmed up for their meeting with rivals Fluminense with a sound 4-0 thrashing of Duque de Caxias at São Januário Stadium. The result relegated their visitors, who will not compete in next year’s Carioca tournament after finishing bottom of the group with just nine points.
Striker Edmilson bagged a brace and currently leads the Carioca scoring charts. He has ten goals in fifteen games, one ahead of Flamengo striker Alecsandro, who has nine. Reginaldo and Everton Costa also got on the scoresheet as Vasco went to town. The latter has formed a dangerous partnership with Edmilson and the double act could eliminate Fluminense, with whom they go head-to-head on Thursday and Sunday.
Campeonato Carioca Final Round Results in Full:
Botafogo 1-1 Nova Iguaçu
Madureira 0-1 Resende
Flamengo 5-3 Cabofriense
Vasco 4-0 Duque de Caxias
Fluminense 3-1 Volta Redonda
Friburguense 2-1 Bonsucesso
Audax 0-1 Macaé
Boavista 1-0 Bangu
Read more (in Portuguese).
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