By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo confirmed their safe passage into the final of the 2014 Campeonato Carioca last night with a 3-1 win over Cabofriense at the Maracanã. Following their 3-0 win last week, the Rubro-Negro won by a 6-1 aggregate and will play either Fluminense or Vasco, who meet this afternoon, for the state title.
A brace from Argentine midfielder Lucas Mugni in the first eighteen minutes put Flamengo on course last night, and afterwards in truth the result was never in doubt. Meanwhile, no. 9 Hernane was forced to leave the action in the first half with an injury to his lower back and was replaced by Alecsandro.
João Paulo added the third just after the hour-mark before Éberson netted a consolation for the Cabo Frio club. Flamengo will now turn their attention to a Copa Libertadores tie with Emelec on Wednesday night as they struggle to qualify for the knock-out phase.
Fla’s opener, which came after only eight minutes, had a touch of luck about it. Mugni’s long-range effort took a huge deflection off Jardel and looped beyond a stranded Cetin in the Cabofriense goal.
Mugni doubled the Rubro-Negro’s advantage ten minutes later, heading home Muralha’s cross. With a 5-0 aggregate lead at that point Flamengo were on easy street, and the incentive almost visibly evaporated from the field.
Gabriel had a chance to put Mengão further in front yet could only strike a post. Cabofriense continued to cede space to their more gifted opponents and a third goal eventually arrived.
João Paulo combined with Alecsandro and finished the move to put the cherry on Flamengo’s cake. Their place in the final booked, they await the result of this afternoon’s tie, also at the Maracanã Stadium.
Fluminense and Vasco drew 1-1 in the semi-final first leg last Thursday, leaving all to play for today. Kick-off is at 4PM.
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