By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – As the 2018 Campeonato Brasileiro (Brasileirão) Série A reaches the midway point, Rio’s CR Flamengo took the pitch yesterday (August 19th) for an important match with disappointing results. The Rubro-Negra club looked outmatched against bottom-dwelling club Atlético-PR losing 3-0 in Curitiba.
But, even playing reserves, the Rubro-Negra entered the match as heavy favorites against an Atlético-PR club fighting to stay out of relegation.
In hindsight, Sunday’s match was over at the nine-minute mark when a perfectly struck free kick from Atlético-PR’s Marcinho found the foot of sliding teammate Pablo for the game’s first score.
Seven minutes later, Raphael Veiga doubled the lead pounding in a loose ball rebound past a helpless Flamengo keeper César. At the twenty minute mark, Atlético-PR put the nail in the coffin with Zé Ivaldo heading in the game’s third goal, capping what would be a surprisingly easy 3-0 win for Atlético-PR.
“The first twenty minutes of the match were crucial,” exclaimed a frustrated Flamengo manager Maurício Barbieri. “[W]e made mistakes in excess.”
For fans of the Rubro-Negra, Sunday’s loss was made even more disappointing by the fact that it came at the hands of a club near the bottom of the standings.
Ex-team president Kleber Leite was especially critical of the team’s decision to play reserves in yesterday’s match. “It is absurd to spare any player in a game that is valid for the main tournament of the country and whose last championship was in 2009,” said Leite after the match.
Following the match, Flamengo dropped one spot in the standings to third place with 37 points. The Rubro-Negra returns to the pitch on Thursday, August 23rd against Vitória.