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By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Three goals in the opening 23 minutes helped Flamengo to a 4-1 victory over Criciúma at the Maracanã in the Campeonato Brasileiro yesterday afternoon. On a bizarre afternoon, both goalkeepers were given their marching orders as the Rubro-Negro moved five points clear of the relegation zone.

Flamengo Thrash Criciúma 4-1, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Hernane scored two for Flamengo, photo by Alexandre Vidal/Fla Imagem.

A brace from Hernane, accompanied by goals from Wallace and Elias, were enough to do the damage for the Rio club. At the final whistle, Hernane said the three points would help the side build confidence.

“We got a very important result. We needed to score goals due to our negative goal difference. It give us confidence for the game against Coritiba,” he said.

It took Flamengo just four minutes to go in front, Hernane turning home from close range. Paulinho missed an excellent chance five minutes later but on seventeen minutes, Wallace doubled the lead.

A corner from the right caused bedlam in the Criciúma defense and Wallace found the back of the net. On 23 minutes, Criciúma goalkeeper brought down Hernane in the penalty area and was shown a red card.

Hernane picked himself off to tuck away the resulting spot-kick. In first half injury-time, Fla keeper Felipe was also dismissed for denying a goal scoring opportunity and Daniel Carvalho pulled one back for the visitors.

However, any hopes of a second half surge were dashed by Elias. His powerful effort on 77 minutes sealed Flamengo’s dominance.

At the Arena Fonte NovaVasco drew 0-0 with Bahia. The draw meant Vasco stopped an awful run of five straight defeats, but left the Cruz-Maltino in the relegation zone.

Read more (in Portuguese).

* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you-to-date with important news as it happens.

Flamengo Thrash Criciúma 4-1, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Current ranking in the 2013 Brasileirão.
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