By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo won the 2014 Campeonato Carioca with a controversial late offside goal yesterday afternoon at the expense of Vasco da Gama at the Maracanã. The last-gasp strike gave Flamengo a 1-1 draw in the state championship final, and with a 1-1 draw in the first leg last week, was enough to lift the Carioca crown.
The success was the Rubro-Negro‘s 33rd triumph in the Campeonato Carioca. Their last title came in 2011, again against Vasco. Márcio Araújo stabbed home from a corner after it appeared Vasco had done enough to lift their first state crown since 2003. Douglas had converted a penalty to give them a slender advantage.
However, Flamengo‘s late winner was shrouded in controversy. Replays showed that when Wallace connected with the corner Nixon, on as a late substitute, was in a clear offside position.
As he went for the same rebound – Wallace’s header having cannoned off the crossbar – he was blatantly interfering with play at the time of the crucial Flamengo leveler, which eventually decided the state title.
Many felt the correct decision would have been for the linesman to raise his flag and disallow the goal. However, it was allowed to stand, much to the chagrin of the Vasco players, and Flamengo were declared champions.
The result gave Fla some light relief after their early elimination from the Copa Libertadores. Now, they will look to reenter the continental competition via the Campeonato Brasileiro, which kicks off this coming weekend.
Vasco, meanwhile, continue their barren run in the state championship. Coming so close to the Carioca crown was the same bittersweet pill that saw them relegated to the national second division last year.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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