By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense won an emotional Fla-Flu classico 1-0 yesterday afternoon to move six points clear at the top of the Brasileirão table after 27 rounds. Over 31,000 fans filed into the Engenhão Stadium to watch the narrowest of victories, after Flamengo missed as late penalty and had another goal chalked off.
The highlight of the game was Fred’s glorious goal in the seventeenth minute. Thiago Neves passed a short corner to Deco, whose outswinging cross found Fred peeling away from the Flamengo defense.
Somewhat uncharacteristically, Fred launched himself at the ball, connecting with a perfectly time bicycle kick which found Felipe’s bottom right-hand corner. The Tricolor fans in the stadium could hardly contain themselves as ecstasy broke out amongst the ranks.
After the interval Flamengo began to threaten. Swapping the tired Leo Moura for Bottinelli lent the Fla midfield more creativity. But the Argentine turned into the villain late on when Cavalieri saved his penalty to maintain Flu’s lead.
Flamengo continued to press in the dying stages and Renato’s close-range goal was ruled out for the most marginal of offside decisions. Fluminense still needed Cavalieri at his best to keep the points safe and there was relief on Flu faces as the final whistle blew on a classico worthy of the name.
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