By Jayme Monsanto, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – Last weekend saw the eight round of Taça Rio, which was the last one of the Groups stage. Matches happened all over the Rio de Janeiro state on Saturday and Sunday, and unsurprisingly, all of the ‘big four’ claimed their spots in the semi finals after playing simultaneous matches Easter Sunday, at 4PM.
At the Maracanã Stadium, Fluminense confronted Macaé. Coming from a 3-0 defeat against Vasco, Fluminense’s morale was low, but they managed to beat their opponents by 3-1. Fluminense’s goals were scored by Alan (who scored twice) and Everton, while André Gomes discounted for Macaé. This result made Fluminense finish the groups stage in the second place of Group A, behind Flamengo.
Flamengo, at the Moça Bonita Stadium, used a substitute team to defeat Friburguense by 3-0. The goals were scored by Ronaldo Angelim and Denis Marques, and Friburguense’s Wallace scored an own goal. Flamengo finishes the groups stage as leader of Group A.
Just like Flamengo, Botafogo entered the Engenhão Stadium to confront Bangu with a substitute team, since their Group B leadership was already guaranteed. Unlike Flamengo, however, Botafogo’s performance was weak, and the final result was a 2-2 tie. Botafogo’s goals were scored by Diguinho and Alessandro, while Somália and Gustavo Corrêa scored for Bangu.
Vasco’s situation was the most complicated of the ‘big four’. They had to win in order to claim their spot in the semi finals, under risk of losing their spot to América. Because of that, they gave their best while playing Duque de Caxias at the Raulino de Oliveira Stadium.
The match was tied dramatically in 3-3 until the end of the second half, when Vasco managed to score one more time, winning by 4-3. Their goals were scored by Dodô (twice), Fagner and Elton, while Caxias’ goals came from the feet of Maurinho, Junior and Marcelo.
These results shape up the semi final matches, which will happen this weekend. Flamengo will play Vasco on Sunday, while Botafogo meets Fluminense on Saturday. Both matches will happen at the Maracanã Stadium, at 4PM.
If Botafogo wins Taça Rio, they will be automatically crowned state champions, since they have already won the first leg of Campeonato Carioca, the Taça Guanabara.
Tigres, the team that scored the least amount of points in the state championship, was relegated to the Série B of Campeonato Carioca. They will be joined by either Duque de Caxias, Friburguense or Resende, who will face a playoff to see who goes down with Tigres.