By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense resisted a second half onslaught to narrowly overcome Bahia 1-0 and go top of the Campeonato Brasileiro table last night. Teenage forward Kenedy scored the game’s only goal after three minutes, and a magnificent performance from central defender Gum ensured the Tricolor held on to their slender advantage for the duration.
To make sure they remain top after the completion of the seventh round, Flu and their fans must pray Cruzeiro and Palmeiras do not take three points later on today. The two clubs are away to Internacional and Chapecoense respectively.
Fluminense’s success in keeping a clean sheet against Bahia should not be underestimated. It was only the second time in 28 games this calendar year the northeastern club has failed to find the back of the net.
The match-winner yesterday had been a surprise pick by coach Cristovão Borges. Rafael Sóbis was rested, and could only find a place on the bench, while the eighteen-year-old Kenedy partnered Walter in attack.
The switch was justified just three minutes into the match. His powerful shot from the edge of the penalty area took a wicked deflection, giving keeper Marcelo Lomba no chance as it smashed off the bar and into the goal.
Little of note happened for the remainder of the first half. The game became a midfield tussle, with opposing strikers Walter and Maxi Biancucchi left in lonely isolation. The second half was a different prospect entirely. Bahia coach Marquinhos Santos sent on William Barbio and Rafinha for Uelliton and Rafael Miranda, and his side was given an immediate injection of pace and offensive danger.
Bahia played with four men forward for the final 45 minutes, and penned Fluminense into their own half, yet Flu’s defensive resistance has strengthened significantly under Borges. Led by Gum, who was partnered by the excellent prospect Marlon, the Carioca club kept the Bahians at bay until the final whistle. Now they must hope results go their way today.
In addition, Flamengo and Botafogo are also in Brasileirão action this afternoon. The Rubro-Negro travel to Santos, whilst the Glorioso host Vitória.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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