By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo came from behind twice to beat Palmeiras 4-2 yesterday afternoon at the Maracanã in the third round of the 2014 Campeonato Brasileiro. A fine performance from Alecsandro, who scored twice, was the second half catalyst as Fla played a more offensive game which left them more open defensively but nevertheless paid off in the end.
Alecsandro himself had not found the back of the net in three games but was on hand here to help the Rubro-Negro see off a stubborn Palmeiras outfit. The visitors started strongly but wilted in the second half as the Rio club snatched the game by the scruff of its neck.
The key moment came not during the match, but the half-time interval. Flamengo coach Jayme de Almeida made a vital substitution, bringing on playmaker Lucas Mugni for striker Nixon.
Mugni’s vision and range of passing transformed Flamengo in the second half and guided them towards a much needed three points. It was the club’s first win in the Brasileirão this season.
Palmeiras had gone in at the break 2-1 to the good, having taken advantage of Flamengo’s 4-3-3 formation and the vast open spaces it allowed Chilean playmaker Valdivia. A long-range effort from Wesley and a bundled strike from debutant Henrique sandwiched Paulinho’s goal for Fla, increasing the pressure on Almeida in the Flamengo dugout as Flamengo’s frustrating form looked set to continue.
Nevertheless, Fla came out with all guns blazing in the second half. Márcio Araújo levelled less than five minutes after the restart and the pendulum stuck with Mengo until the final whistle. Alecsandro put the Cariocas ahead on the hour mark before rounding off the scoring with his second thirteen minutes later. The three points give Flamengo momentum for next week’s Fla-Flu clássico, the first derby of the national campaign.
Meanwhile, Botafogo lost 1-0 to Bahia at the Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador. The Glorioso are without a win in their opening three games and sit next to bottom in the early season table.
Brasileirão Round Three Results in Full:
São Paulo 2-2 Coritiba
Santos 0-0 Grêmio
Atlético-PR 2-3 Cruzeiro
Fluminense 1-2 Vitória
Flamengo 4-2 Palmeiras
Bahia 1-0 Botafogo
Internacional 2-1 Sport Recife
Criciúma 1-0 Figueirense
Atlético-MG 0-1 Goiás
Chapecoense 0-1 Corinthians
Read more (in Portuguese).
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