By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Fluminense got back to winning ways in the Campeonato Brasileiro with a 4-2 victory over Criciúma at the Maracanã this evening. The match saw the return of Walter to the Tricolor for his first game in a month, and the burly forward had a hand in three of the goals his side scored.
Flu playmaker Wágner also had an inspired night, scoring two goals. The result gives Nense an outside hope of still reaching the G-4 and qualifying for next season’s Copa Libertadores; the club currently sit in seventh place, three points off Atlético-MG in fourth.
The match started slowly before busting into life on 32 minutes. Rodrigo Souza thought he had headed the visitors ahead but his effort was ruled out for pushing.
Just five minutes later it was Fluminense’s turn to complain. As Fred jumped for a header he was nudged in the back and sent sprawling to the ground, but referee Marcelo Aparecido failed to react.
A minute before the interval, Criciúma took the lead, Rodrigo Souza escaping the attentions of Bruno to head home. But Wágner equalized almost immediately from Walter’s cross.
As the second half kicked off Flu came racing out of the blocks. Within ten minutes of the restart the Cariocas had netted twice.
On 50 minutes, Wágner put the hosts ahead for the first time on the night, driving home after neat build-up play from Fred and Walter. And on 55 minutes Conca forced home after goalkeeper Bruno could only parry Walter’s long-range effort.
But Flu failed to put the game to bed. Midway through the second half, Lucca beat the offside trap, cut inside and smashed a shit past Diego Cavalieri to make it 3-2. The visitors started to press, but Flu were handed a vital lifeline.
Six minutes from time, Fred was pulled down inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot. Souza, who committed the offense, was dismissed and the no. 9 picked himself up to convert the penalty and seal the points for Fluminense.