RIO DE JANEIRO - Flamengo, without
injured captain Ronaldinho, beat arch-rivals Fluminense 5-4 on
penalties after a 1-1 draw in a thrilling Carioca championship
semi-final on Sunday.
Goalkeeper Felipe saved two spot-kicks in the shootout to
put Flamengo within one victory of the Rio de Janeiro state
As winners of the first stage of the Carioca, if Flamengo
beat Vasco da Gama in next weekend's second-stage final there
will be no need for a grand final. Vasco beat Olaria 1-0 in
Disappointed Brazilian champions Fluminense came back down
to earth with a bump having qualified for the knockout phase of
the Copa Libertadores in midweek with a thrilling 4-2 victory
over Argentinos Juniors in Buenos Aires.
Sunday's derby at the Engenhao stadium, played in torrential
rain, suffered a delay due to a power failure during the first
After play resumed, Fluminense were the better team and
deserved their lead when Rafael Moura pounced on a free-kick
into the box from Marquinho in the 22nd minute.
Former Fluminense forward Thiago Neves headed Flamengo's
67th-minute equaliser from a long ball into the box by
The state championships precede the Brazilian first division
championship that starts next month.
Coritiba won title in the southern state of Parana with a
match to spare when they beat arch-rivals Atletico Paranaense
3-0 away in the Curitiba derby.
They equalled the Brazilian record of 21 consecutive
victories set in 1996 by Vanderlei Luxemburgo's Palmeiras.
In Sao Paulo, the four favourites for the Paulista title
reached the semi-finals where holders Santos will meet Sao Paulo
and Corinthians face Palmeiras.
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