By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense overcame intense heat and a terrible playing surface to beat Bangu 1-0 in the fifth round of the 2014 Campeonato Carioca. It was Flu’s third successive victory, the first time they have achieved such a feat since April last year, when they beat Caracas in the Libertadores, and Bangu and Volta Redonda in the Carioca.
Young striker Michael, banned last year after failing a drugs test, scored the game’s only goal in the first half. The three points took the Tricolor into second place with ten points from five matches, level with Flamengo who play today.
Striker Rafael Sóbis said Flu were finally finding rhythm this year. “It is difficult to score a goal on this pitch [Bangu’s Estádio Moça Bonita].
“We are finding a balance and this is important. We played well and didn’t take any risks,” he said at the final whistle.
Seleção striker Fred sat this game out and is only expected to return for Saturday’s Fla-Flu classíco. Even so, Fluminense controlled the first half and deservedly took the lead on 27 minutes.
Jean crossed deep from the right flank and Michael rose above his marker to head the ball past former Fluminense stopper Rafael. Once again the side’s most dangerous outlet was Argnetine Darío Conca, whose passing was a threat throughout the opening 45 minutes as Flu had several chances to extend their advantage.
Nense wilted slightly in the second half as the sun continued to punishingly beat down. Coach Renato Gaúcho brought on Biro Biro, recently called up to the Brazil U-21 squad, for Michael. But it was Bangu who went closest to scoring, Diego Cavalieri forced into a smart stop from Almir’s free-kick as the visitors absorbed pressure late in the game.
Yet Fluminense managed to hold tight for their second straight 1-0 win. This afternoon, Flamengo take on Macaé while in-form Vasco meet Botafogo in the first Carioca classíco of 2014.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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