By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A second-half strike from Samuel was enough to give Fluminense a 1-0 victory last night over Náutico at the Arena Pernambuco in Recife. In a game of poor quality Flu managed to get their first victory away from home in the 2013 Brasileirão thanks to a magnificent performance from goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri.
Náutico, bottom of the table, were superior for the duration and deserved at least a share of the points. Fluminense, not for the first time under new coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, lacked creativity in the middle of the park, leaving the forward line with precious little to work with.
Luxemburgo armed Flu with three holding midfielders and no playmaker. The first half passed by with the Tricolor barely getting a sniff at the Náutico goal.
At the interval Luxemburgo finally changed the team’s shape. He took off Jean and Kennedy for Wágner and Felipe to lend more imagination to the midfield and support to the attack.
Yet it was Náutico who came closest to opening the scoring, Rogério and Eltinho both squandering chances. Cavalieri made a wonderful save with his left foot and soon afterwards Maikon Leite turned a shot against the post with the goalkeeper beaten.
Luxemburgo had one more throw off the dice. He took off Rafael Sóbis and threw on young striker Samuel. It took only four minutes for the 20-year-old to make a difference, settling the game with a first-class effort.
Evading João Filipe and Jean Rolt he was cool and calm inside the area to beat Ricardo Berna and find the back of the net. Náutico almost equalized at the death but one more magical moment from Cavalieri helped Fluminense to three points and eleventh place in the table.
Meanwhile, Vasco lost 3-2 to Grêmio at São Januário. The club drop to tenth in the league.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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