By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – An injury time goal helped Flamengo to a 1-1 draw with Botafogo at the Maracanã in the ninth round of the 2013 Campeonato Brasileiro (Brazilian Championship) yesterday evening. The goal, in the 94th minute, allowed Fla to climb out of the relegation zone at the bottom table, leaving Botafogo in third place.
Botafogo were by far superior during the first half and took a deserved lead on 21 minutes. Nevertheless, after the interval, their fluency vanished and as Flamengo pressed, they punished their rivals at the death.
Over 52,000 were inside the Maracanã for the teams’ first match at the renovated stadium. With a capacity of 78,000, a third of the seats in the stadium were still empty as some fans balked at the high prices charged by Maracanã S.A., with some tickets costing as much as R$300.
Once the game got under way, Lodeiro and Rafael Marques threatened for Botafogo and the latter deservedly opened the scoring. Dutch veteran Clarence Seedorf curled in a free kick from the right and Marques volleyed home from twelve yards.
Flamengo made a slow start, not even managing a shot on goal until the 32nd minute. Seedorf had two chances before half-time to scored a second for Botafogo but Felipe saved Flamengo’s bacon, making one excellent save from another free kick.
To use an old footballing cliché, this really was a game of two halves. The sides looked completely different after the half-tie break and Flamengo finally began to gain a stranglehold in midfield.
Youngster Adryan missed an excellent chance on the hour mark and five minutes later, Elias had a goal ruled out for offside. Jefferson was forced to save for Elias again, and Botafogo were left praying for the final whistle so they could leave with the three points.
Their prayers were not answered. In the fourth of five minutes of injury time, Elias latched onto Luiz Antônio’s pass to fire past Jefferson and earn a deserved draw for the Rubro-Negro.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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