By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Goals from Fred and Thalles left the Campeonato Carioca semi-final first leg all even last night at the Maracanã Stadium. In a balanced game the result ended 1-1, with Sunday’s return tie now set to decide the outcome.
Having finished second in the group, Fluminense have a slight advantage. Should the second leg also result in a tie, the Tricolor will progress to the final.
The game was played at a high tempo and neither side deserved to lose an entertaining encounter. Vasco dominated the first half, with Fluminense goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri forced into a smart double save, first from Douglas’ free-kick and then from Edmilson’s rebound.
Vasco stopper Martin Silva also had to be on top form to keep out Jean. As the half-time whistle blew the game remained goalless despite a frenetic pace. Vasco began the second half in a lethargic manner and paid the price. Ten minutes after the restart Fluminense went in front.
Jean beat three markers and put the ball across the middle of the goal. Fred, all alone, steered the ball home. Vasco coach Adilson Batista sent his players on the attack, sending on Thalles for Reginaldo. The ploy paid off. Diego Renan’s cross was met by Thalles who managed to power the ball past Cavalieri at his near post.
Fluminense strived to take the sting out of the game, knowing two draws would be enough to advance. Flu midfielder Jean was sent off in injury time for two bookable offenses. He will miss the second leg on Sunday.
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.