By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo narrowly overcame Audax 1-0 in the Campeonato Carioca opening round yesterday afternoon, becoming the only big team to take three points on the first weekend. Welinton scored the game’s only goal after just five minutes as the club’s reinforcements for 2014 were introduced to the crowd at the Maracanã Stadium.
Flamengo have added right-back Léo and midfielder Everton, from Atlético-PR, central defender Erazo from Ecuadorian club Barcelona, former Bahia midfielder Feijão, former Seleção playmaker Elano from Grêmio, Argentine Lucas Mugni and Atlético-MG forward Alecsandro.
Flamengo fielded a largely reserve side yesterday as their principal players prepare for their Copa Libertadores campaign. Yet they were still too much for Audax and dominated the match for longer periods than the 1-0 scoreline suggests.
Almost 13,000 were inside the Maracanã to witness Flamengo’s first encounter of 2014. And they made themselves heard as they booed midfield pair Gabriel and Mattheus.
Goalscorer Welinton is another player the fans have attacked verbally in the past. He was almost sold to Russian football during the summer break but yesterday he earned the affection of the Flamenguistas.
From Caceres’ corner he rose highest to head the game’s winning goal. Negueba replaced Hernane up front but didn’t manage to get on the scoresheet despite finding himself in several goalscoring positions.
He came off for Muralha for the second half but Flamengo remained profligate in front of goal. If they are serious about going far in the Libertadores their attack cannot be as wasteful in their quest for South American football’s most coveted prize.
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