By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Vasco and Botafogo will contest the final of the 2013 Taça Guanabara on Sunday, March 10th, at the Engenhão Stadium. Over the weekend Vasco overcame Fluminense 3-2 in a thrilling encounter while Julio César’s 55-second strike helped Botafogo secure their passage through the semis.
A topsy turvy game on Saturday saw Vasco edge out the current Carioca champions Fluminense. The final twenty minutes of the game saw the lead change hands twice as more slack defending from Flu – an ongoing trait in 2013 – cost them dear.
Bernardo put Vasco into the lead on 69 minutes but Thiago Neves, who had gone close previously with a long-range effort, equalized. Wellington Nem looked to have put Flu into the final ten minutes from time when he touched home a rebound, but Vasco were far from done.
Romário converted Dakson’s cross to bring the scores level again, a result that would have put Vasco into the final on account of their having topped their group. Then five minutes later Dedé ensured victory, escaping Gum to put the ball through Cavalieri’s legs.
Botafogo will be Vasco’s opponents next weekend after they defeated Flamengo 2-0 yesterday afternoon. Julio Cesar’s excellent run and shot put the Alvinegro ahead inside the first minute and Fogão went on to dominate the first half.
Flamengo emerged a different proposition for the second half and pegged Fogo back for large periods. Botafogo and Seleção goalkeeper Jefferson was on fine form, saving twice from Hernane from pinpoint range.
As Flamengo pressed for an equalizer, keeper Felipe headed up the field, only to be caught out by a sharp counter attack. As the ball fell to Vitinho, the youngster smashed the ball into an empty net to set up the meeting with the São Januário club.
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