By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo and Fluminense drew 1-1 yesterday afternoon at the Maracanã in a fiercely fought Fla-Flu Clássico in the Brasileirão. Over 41,000 were inside the iconic arena to see Eduardo da Silva give the Rubro-Negro the lead before Fred leveled just before the interval, to protect the Laranjeiras outfit’s unbeaten record against their rivals this year.
Fla packed their midfield with defensive minded players and aimed to bully Flu out of the contest. Cáceres, Luiz Antônio and Márcio Araujo patrolled the middle of the park like surly security staff, stamping their authority wherever they could.
Fluminense, meanwhile, lined up in an attack-minded 4-2-3-1. But Cícero, who has been a huge goal threat this season, and Wágner, were marked effectively out of the match, meaning Fred’s opportunities as the target man were scarce.
Cícero’s best chance came after just ten minutes, when he sent an acrobatic bicycle kick against the post. But the linesman erroneously waved for offside.
On 26 minutes, Flamengo went ahead, and it was yet another defensive mix up that cost Fluminense dear. Eduardo escaped Valencia far too easily and held off the challenge from Elivelton with ease before stabbing the ball past Diego Cavalieri.
Flu’s equalizer came a minute before the break. Darío Conca whipped in a free-kick and Fred gave his marker, Chicão, the slip to glance the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
Flamengo started the second half on the front foot, Alecsandro sending an effort whistling over the crossbar with a dipping volley. The Tricolor replied through Fred, who saw his powerful drive tipped away by a fully stretched Paulo Victor in the Flamengo goal.
Flamengo coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo sent on Gabriel and Lucas Mugni to add an injection of pace to his creative sector. His side almost snatched it at the death, when Éverton saw his effort blocked by Cavalieri.
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