By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense conceded a late equalizer to draw 2-2 with Atlético-MG last night in the 37th round of the Campeonato Brasileiro at the Maracanã. Flu had taken the lead early in the second half but Atlético’s leveler means the Tricolor’s fight to remain in the Brasileirão as the ‘A’ Series goes down to the wire.
Close to 45,000 fans were inside the stadium after the club slashed ticket prices to encourage fans to come support the side. Picking up a solitary point means Fluminense‘s fate is no longer in their own hands, with Vasco da Gama likely to beat already relegated Náutico this afternoon.
Diego Tardelli put the visitors ahead on 21 minutes, firing a shot underneath Cavalieri from the edge of the penalty area. The game was played at a frantic pace as Fluminense pressed with urgency, knowing anything less than three points could have disastrous consequences.
Wagner and Leandro Euzébio went close to restoring parity but were thwarted by Victor on both occasions. The equalizing goal eventually came on 36 minutes, Gum steering home from close range. In the second half Fluminense continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession. The fans were making a tremendous noise in the stands and the atmosphere looked to be getting to the Atlético players.
Wagner then slipped Biro Biro through on goal with an excellent pass and the youngster lifted the ball over Victor to put Fluminense ahead on 53 minutes. The Maracanã was a cauldron of noise as the Tricolor looked to have victory within their grasp. However, Flu backed off, attempting to secure their narrow lead, and dearly paid the price. On 82 minutes, Alecsandro headed a cruel equalizer for Atlético, shocking the Tricolor fans into one more wave of noise.
The game ended on even terms amid huge chaos. A group of Fluminense fans tried to invade the players’ changing rooms after the final whistle, with several being arrested in the process.
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