RIO DE JANEIRO - Flamengo, counting down
the days to former Brazil international Ronaldinho's highly
anticipated debut, beat Vasco da Gama 2-1 in the first derby of
the Carioca (Rio de Janeiro) state championship on Sunday.
At the end of a day in which thousands of fans stood in long
queues at sale points in Rio seeking a ticket for Ronaldinho's
debut against Nova Iguacu on Wednesday, Flamengo upped the
anticipation with victory over their traditional rivals.
"He'll make his debut, he's anxious to. We've already
lowered the rhythm of his training a little and now he's
creating an expectancy and anxiety for the match," Flamengo
coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo said.
"I have a few tactical options to set up the team and we're
going to see which is best," Luxemburgo told reporters at the
Enganhao stadium where former FIFA World Player of the Year
Ronaldinho watched Sunday's match.
For Vasco, yet to win after four matches this season, the
defeat was another blow after former Portugal coach Carlos
Queiroz turned down an offer to take charge of the team
following last week's sacking of Paulo Cesar Gusmao.
Goals from striker Deivid and midfielder Thiago Neves, who
are expected to form an attacking trident with Ronaldinho, put
Flamengo ahead in the first half. Romulo pulled one back 15
minutes from time.
The goal by Neves, also a new signing this season, was the
pick as he lobbed goalkeeper Fernando Prass and then rounded him
to push the ball into the net with his thigh.
Santos beat Sao Paulo 2-0 in a top Paulista (Sao Paulo)
championship clash with another fine performance and goal from
midfielder Elano, who returned to the club from Galatasaray
after six years in Europe. It was his third goal in two matches.
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