By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo lost 1-0 to Grêmio yesterday evening in the sixteenth round of the 2013 Campeonato Brasileiro at the Estádio Mané Garrincha in Brasília. It was the Gaúcho club’s fourth successive league victory and lifted the side into third place in the league.
Grêmio were far more tactically organized than Flamengo and gave their hosts little room to maneuver. The game’s only goal came in the seventh minute when Pará’s free-kick found a gap in the wall and left Felipe blindsided in the Fla goal.
“We closed gaps and didn’t let Flamengo play. Our group has ability and we know what we have to do”, said Grêmio striker Barcos at the final whistle. The Argentine himself had two opportunities to stretch Grêmio’s lead in the match but missed both.
Flamengo were missing playmaker Elias and his absence was telling. There was no direct line to the attack and no midfield engine to support any failings in the defense.
Flamengo’s central defensive pairing of Chicão and González looked labored and Barcos, Kleber and Alex Telles were a constant threat with their pace. Fla coach Mano Menezes tried to add more pace to his side, bringing on youngsters Nixon and Adryan for Val and Fernando. However, Grêmio remained the more dominant side, especially dangerous on the rapid counterattack.
Barcos smashed an effort against the crossbar on 65 minutes from Ramiro’s cross. Barcos then forced Felipe into a great save whilst Flamengo’s attack offered little in the way of a reply. Hernane had two late half-chances but a draw would have been an unfair result. Grêmio had dominated an deserved the three points.
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