Friday, 19 February 2010

Campeonato Carioca - Taça Guanabara Semi Finals

Vasco da Gama 0-0 Fluminense
Vasco advance 6-5 on penalties
Flamengo 1-2 Botafogo

Vasco da Gama and Botafogo will meet in the final of the Taça Guanabara on Sunday after contrasting semi finals over the past week.

Both games were held at the Maracanã and in the first semi final Vasco da Gama met Fluminense. It was a tense and nervous affair, there were seven yellow cards issued in the first half alone and both teams were guilty of missing chances, partricularly Fred from Fluminense. Vasco da Gama finished the game much stronger but couldn't find a way through the Flu defence. So the with the game scoreless after 90 minutes the tie would be decided by penalties, both teams were successful with their first 5 kicks sending it to sudden death. Nilton scored the sixth Vasco penalty and Alan was next up for Fluminense. His spot kick sent the Vasco keeper the wrong way but crashed back off the cross bar to put Vasco into the final.

There was a huge shock in the second semi-final when out of touch Botafogo came from behind to eliminate Flamengo. The Vultures were ahead in the 24th minute when Vinícuis Pacheco fired Fla ahead after good work in the build up from Vágner Love. The lead lasted 9 minutes, a shot from Gérman Herrera deflecting to Marcelo Cordeiro who then put the ball past Bruno. Flamengo looked to retake the lead but Adriano and Vágner Love weren't firing on the day and as the tie headed for penalties Botafogo grabbed a dramatic winner from Caio with seven minutes to go.

The two finalists meet again not long after Vasco's 6-0 victory in the group stages which cost Estevem Soares his job. But Joel Santana has come into Botafogo and steadied the ship and he has much experience in state football. The bookmakers will make Vasco favourites for the game but as the semi finals have proved, anything can happen.

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