By Lisa Flueckiger, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio football (soccer) club Vasco da Gama won the 2015 state championship, the Campeonato Carioca, with two victories over Botafogo. The second leg of the final that took place on Sunday, May 3rd at the Maracanã ended with a 2-1 score for the cruz-maltinos.
This Sunday, it was Silva again who opened the score with a nice kick with his left foot in the 45th minute ending an uneventful first half in front of 66,156 spectators. The second half began with chances on both sides. Botafogo began to press more and Vasco remained dangerous in the counter-attacks.
It was after 74 minutes that Diego Jardel elevated the hopes of the alvi-negros with the first goal for Botafogo in these final games. Yet, the hope soon faded as Fernandes received a second yellow card and was sent off with less than ten minutes to play. Gilberto then sealed Fogo’s fate with the second goal for Vasco in extra time.
This title is the first state championship Vasco wins in twelve years, leaving a troubled time behind the team from the Zona Norte (North Zone). The cruz-maltinos were relegated from Brazil’s first league, Série A, at the end of 2013 and had a hard time fighting their way back for this season.
It will give them the boost needed to start into the Brasileirão that will begin next weekend. Vasco will play their first game on Sunday, May 10th against Goiás, while Botafogo will start their campaign in the Série B against Paysandu.
In other state championships also ending this weekend, Santos won against Palmeiras to take the title in São Paulo with a decision in penalties, while Atlético-MG won over Série D club Caldense in Minas Gerais.