March 20 – Flamengo have reached the final of the Carioca championship, defeating cross-town rivals Vasco da Gama to ease some of the pressure on Portuguese coach Vitor Pereira.
In the semi-finals of the state championship, the team from Gavea defeated Vasco da Gama over two legs 6-3. In the second leg on Sunday at the Maracana, Flamengo fell behind to a 31st-minute Manuel Capasso strike, but responded with two goals from striker Pedro before full-back Ayrton Lucas sealed the 3-1 victory.
Despite the win, Pereira admitted that Flamengo’s performance was once again below par.
“We’ve played better games before – creating many opportunities, and we didn’t manage to. Today, thanks to the opponent as well, it wasn’t a game with so many chances, but we scored three goals. In this type of game, the result is the most important thing. We are in the final,” said Pereira.
For long spells, Vasco pressed Flamengo high up the pitch and when Pereira decided to substitute both Gabriel Barbosa ‘Gabigol’ and Giorgian de Arrascaeta the Maracana booed the decision.
A successor to local coach Dorival Junior, Pereira, previously of Corinthians, has been under constant pressure in Rio de Janeiro after losing the Brazilian Supercup, the South American Supercup and the Taça Guanabara. Flamengo also suffered the humiliation of exiting the Club World Cup in the semi-finals.
In the two-legged final of the state championship, Flamengo, winners of the 2022 Copa Libertadores and 2022 Brazilian Cup, will play Fluminense, who defeated Pereira’s team on the last matchday of the regular season to deny Flamengo the Taça Guanabara.
Led by coach Fernando Diniz, Fluminense eliminated Volta Redonda in the other semi-final.
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