By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense and Vasco remain the only two sides with 100 percent record after the second round of the 2012 Campeonato Carioca. Abel Braga gave his first team a run-out as the Tricolor eventually overcame Volta Redonda, while Vasco dispatched Duque de Caxias.
It has been a mixed few days for Flamengo; they lost 2-1 to Bolivian outfit Real Potosí on Wednesday evening in the first leg of their preliminary Libertadores tie before announcing the signing of striker Vagner Love for around R$20 million. But the euphoria around Gávea was halted abruptly as the side were held by Macaé. Botafogo also failed to come away with three points from their encounter with Nova Iguaçu.
Fluminense showed the depth of their squad with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Volta Redonda. The game saw the introduction of some new faces, with Anderson, Bruno and Wágner all making their debuts.
The unfamiliar side took their time to gel and in the first half the side lacked cohesion and organization as Volta Redonda took hold. But talent prevailed in the end, as three goals in the final twenty minutes wrapped up the points.
Anderson opened the scoring, heading home Wágner’s corner, before two substitutes made sure of victory. Wellington Nem scored less than 40 seconds after coming on and Araújo scored for the second successive match.
Flamengo dropped two points after a drab 0-0 draw with Macaé. Three magical saves from keeper Paulo Victor saved the Rubro-Negro from a humiliating defeat.
Macaé were superior throughout and created the better chances. Flamengo put out a reserve team as they prepare for their vital Libertadores qualifier on Wednesday, but such an anonymous performance from those trying to break into the first team was not what the doctor ordered. Vagner Love’s debut cannot come soon enough.
There was also disappointment for Botafogo, who could only muster a goalless draw against Nova Iguaçu. On an afternoon to forget, the Alvinegro controlled possession but created little.
Only in the final half hour did they manage to increase the tempo, and in the process waste three good chances, one by Maicosuel and two by Uruguayan international Loco Abreu. Oswaldo de Oliveira had opted for three front men, but left his side one short in midfield and some of their creative outlook was lost.
Without doubt the pitch and the heavy rain did not help matters, but for all their time on the ball Fogão had little to show for it at the final whistle. More ingenuity will be needed on Wednesday against Madureira if they are to avoid a sticky situation in the Taça Guanabara.
There were no such problems for Vasco as they romped to a 3-1 win over Duque de Caxias. On a pitch that at times resembled a green puddle, goals from Juninho, Alecsandro and Diego Souza put the São Januário side level on points with Fluminense at the top of Group B.
Their opponents threatened little, but managed to equalize early in the second half when Gilcimar squeezed a shot past Fernando Prass. But afterwards, Vasco ran away with the game.
The side put their recent financial worries behind them – the players’ salaries are yet to be paid – and kept their heads above water as Vascaínos look to their side’s opening Libertadores game in eight days time against Nacional of Uruguay.