Flamengo one game away from 2011 state title

09:10, April 25, 2011      

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In the semifinals of the second half of the 2011 Rio de Janeiro state championship, Flamengo defeated cross-town rival Fluminense on Sunday.

In a decision via penalty kicks, Flamengo won in dramatic fashion and will face Vasco da Gama in the finals of the second half.

Fluminense scored the game's opening goal in the 22nd minute. Off a centered ball, Gum headed the ball towards the Flamengo net, finding a wide-open Rafael Moura who then headed the ball into the goal. Moura was visibly offside, but the linesman did not make the call.

Flamengo battled back to score the equalizer in the 66th minute when Willians' crossed ball found Thiago Neves who took advantage of defender Valencia's poor position to place the ball into the back of the Fluminense net.

Tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation, the semifinalist would be determined in penalty kick. The last-minute substitute for Ronaldinho Gaucho before the game started, Diego Mauricio, ended up being the hero for Flamengo, scoring the winning goal in a 5-4 duel.

The win extends Flamengo' s undefeated streak to 24 games. In the finals of the second half of the state championship, Flamengo will face another cross-town rival, Vasco da Gama. Should Flamengo win, the team will be crowned the 2011 state champion for having won the first half of the tournament.

Before concentrating on the state tournament, Flamengo will travel to face Ceara's Horizonte in the second and decisive leg of the round of 16 in the 2011 Brazilian Cup on April 27. In the first leg at Flamengo, the result ended in a frustrating 1-1 draw.

Source: Xinhua
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