By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense and Botafogo drew 1-1 in the first Carioca tournament classico of the year at the Engenhão Stadium yesterday evening. Wellington Nem had given Flu the lead before Bolivar leveled in the second half to leave the teams with a point apiece.
Before the game kicked off the players and officials paused for a minute’s silence to honor the victims of the nightclub fire in Santa Maria, which according to latest reports has claimed over 320 lives. Matches in the Campeonato Gaúcho, in Ruio Grande so Sul where the tragedy occurred, were called off.
When the match started it was Botafogo who began the brighter, with Flu keeper Diego Cavalieri making two sharp saves. Yet man-of-the-match Wellington Nem slowly began to make his presence felt as his speed and strength worried the Botafogo defense.
Nem’s persistence would pay off on 42 minutes when he fired the Tricolor into the lead. Combining with Bruno down the right flank he cut inside and fired an effort inside Jefferson’s near post.
Fluminense began the second half where they finished the first and it only looked a matter if time until they extended their advantage. Dutch veteran Clarence Seedorf however, on as a second half substitute for Botafogo, swung the pendulum back their way.
His perfect out-swinging cross was converted by Bolivar on 73 minutes to restore parity. Neither side managed to seize the initiative in the closing stages, leaving the teams to draw 1-1 for the eighth time in six years.
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