Rio de Janeiro: Flamengo narrowly beat Friburguesne 1-0 in the fourth round of the Rio Cup to move into third place of Group A.
Plagued by multiple injuries, including Vanger Love and Leo Moura, as well as Ronaldinho Gaucho`s absence due to a one-game suspension for his expulsion in the last match against Fluminense, Flamengo`s roster consisted largely of reserve players.
Flamengo`s reserves had a difficult time finding their rhythm and were only able to score in the final minutes of the game. The game-winning goal came from Kleberson in the 80th minute, who slotted home from a cross.
Fans demonstrated their frustration with Flamengo`s lacklustre performance by criticizing head coach Joel Santana, calling him "stupid", Xinhua reported.
Flamengo have nine points, while first place Macae are on 12 points and second place Botafogo have 10 points.
With only three rounds remaining in the Rio Cup, Flamengo must reach a minimum of second place in order to advance into the playoffs. In the next round, Flamengo will travel to face Volta Redonda March 24.
The winner of the Rio Cup will face Fluminense, the winner of the Guanabara Cup, in a two-match playoff to decide the winner of the 2012 Rio de Janeiro state championship.
First Published: Monday, March 19, 2012, 16:09