By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A last minute goal gave Flamengo a 2-1 win over Figueirense last night in the 27th round of the Campeonato Brasileiro at the Estádio Orlando Scarpelli. It helped end the Rubro-Negro’s run of five games without a victory and put them further out of danger of the relegation zone.
Fla started the game at a blistering pace and raced into the lead after only four minutes. Eduardo da Silva escaped the attention of defender Thiago Heleno to head home João Paulo’s cross.
Marcão went close to leveling for the home side twice but couldn’t find the target from just six yards out. As the hosts pressed, Flamengo were pushed onto the back foot and tried to hit on the counter-attack.
But Mengão started the second half the same way as the first. Marcelo saw an effort parried by Figueirense stopper Tiago Volpi before Eduardo missed a fantastic opportunity to double Fla’s advantage.
They were made to pay when Figueirense equalised on 56 minutes. Marcão released Mazola and the forward applied the finishing touch.
Fla had Paulo Victor to thank for not faling behind when the goalkeeper made a smart save from Marcão. The game was end to end action, with Mengo’s midfielder Canteros sending a shot against the woodwork.
It looked like both sides would have to settle for a point. But, in the 92nd minute, Nixon found space to head the winner for the Carioca club.
At the Maracanã, Botafogo slipped to the bottom of the table after losing 1-0 to Palmeiras. Henrique scored the game’s only goal just four minutes into the second half after beautiful build-up play from Chilean playmaker Validivia down the left flank.
Botafogo have now lost their last three Brasileirão games and the players looked devoid of confidence and inspiration last night. Club president Mauricio Assumpção’s decision to release four key players early from their contracts is looking more foolhardy by the day.