By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It was a busy night for local football (soccer) fans on Wednesday, March 29th, as two of Rio de Janeiro’s most popular clubs saw action in the fifth round of the 2017 Taça Rio, the second stage of the Campeonato Carioca state tournament.
The evening started with Fluminense drawing 2-2 with Madureira and ended with Flamengo drawing 1-1 with Volta Redonda.
In the first match at Moça Bonita stadium in Bangu, Group C leader Fluminense had its hands full with Madureira. The underdog from the north would draw first blood when Júlio César scored on a close-range shot off a corner kick. The first half would end with Madureira holding the 1-0 lead.
Fluminense started the second half pushing the pace and it paid off. At the 60th minute, Wellington Silva received a beautiful pass from Lucas and knocked the ball in to tie the game. Only two minutes later, Flu would take the 2-1 lead off a header from Nogueira.
Yet Júlio César would again come to Madureira’s rescue scoring on a medium-range rocket to tie the game at 2-2. A couple of great saves from Madureira keeper Rafael Santos, and the game would end in a 2-2 draw.
With the draw, Fluminense still has not clinched a spot in the Taça Rio. However, due to its victory in the Campeonato Carioca’s first stage, the Taça Guanabara, the club already has a confirmed spot in the Campeonato Caricoa semi-finals.
In the late game, Group B leader, Flamengo took on Volta Redonda at Raulino de Oliveira stadium. For most of the first half, both teams failed to take advantage of numerous scoring opportunities until the 36th-minute when Flamengo’s Felipe Vizeu scored the game’s first goal.
Eighteen minutes into the second period, Volta Redonda’s Luan launched a header to tie the game 1-1. After three minutes of extra time, Flamengo failed to take advantage of another scoring chance and had to settle for the tie.
With the victory, the Rubro-Negra maintain the lead in Group B. Both Fluminense and Flamengo now prepare to face off in the final round of the Taça Rio on Sunday, April 2nd.