By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As the end of the 2018 Campeonato Brasileiro, Série A (Brasileirão) draws near, last night (November 4th) two of the league’s top teams, Flamengo and São Paulo, battled to an exciting 2-2 draw as both clubs fight to keep their title hopes alive.
Last week, Flamengo came from behind to draw 1-1 with the league’s top club, Palmeiras, at Maracanã Stadium. But with Luiz Felipe Scolari‘s side beating Santos this weekend, last night’s match became a must-win for Flamengo and São Paulo, sitting in second and fourth place respectively.
At the seven minute mark, São Paulo drew first blood as Diego Souza took advantage of slack Flamengo defending to score from just inside the box for the 1-0 São Paulo lead.
With the home crowd at Morumbi Stadium still celebrating, Flamengo answered back a minute later as Fernando Uribe knocked in a header to tie the game 1-1.
After the early excitement, both clubs settled down and failed to capitalize on some great chances to close out the first half.
São Paulo seized the lead five minutes into the second half thanks to 18-year-old Helinho. The teenager, playing in his debut match, rifled home a rocket past César for the 2-1 lead.
As the clock wound down, the Rubro-Negra desperately searched for the equalizer. Finally, nine minutes from time, their effort paid off as Rodinei cut in from the right to punch home the rebound to level the match at 2.
A missed point blank opportunity from Flamengo’s Vitinho in the game’s closing minute left both clubs settling for the 2-2 draw.
With the result, Flamengo remains six points behind Palmeiras with six matches left. São Paulo sits at nine points back.
“We managed to equalize and had a chance to win, but we ended up failing again when we needed a goal,” said a disappointed Réver after the match. “You can not judge everything by this, we try to do the best, now it’s on to the next game.”
Flamengo next takes the pitch on Saturday, November 10th, to take on crosstown rivals Botafogo at Nilton Santos Stadium (Engenhão).