Goalkeeper Felipe saved two spot-kicks to help Flamengo beat archrival Fluminense 5-4 in a penalty shootout on Sunday and reach the final of the Rio Cup, the second stage of the Rio de Janeiro state championship.
Flamengo will play Vasco, which beat Olaria 1-0 in the other semifinal on Saturday, after eventually sealing victory in a match that had finished deadlocked at 1-1. Flamengo won the Guanabara Cup, the competition’s first stage, and can automatically win the state title if it also captures the Rio Cup next weekend.
Flamengo played without Ronaldinho because of a left knee injury picked up in the team’s 1-1 draw with Horizonte in the Brazilian Cup on Wednesday. Coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo also couldn’t count on regular starting right back Leo Moura, who is also nursing a knee injury.
Felipe stopped Araujo and Tarta’s penalty shots, before Fluminense midfielder Souza hit his penalty over the crossbar to give Flamengo victory. Renato Abreu and Thiago Neves had failed to score for Flamengo, but striker Diego Mauricio converted the winning spot kick to secure Brazil’s most popular club’s place in the final.
"Penalty is a lottery and I was able to guess the right side," Felipe said. "We got the victory, it’s what matters."
In the quarterfinals of the Sao Paulo state tournament, Sao Paulo beat Portuguesa 2-0 and Palmeiras got past Mirassol 2-1 with a goal by Chile playmaker Jorge Valdivia, while defending champion Santos and Corinthians won their matches on Saturday and also advanced to the semifinals.
Striker Rafael Moura put Fluminense ahead with a header in the 22nd minute at the Engenhao stadium in Rio, but Flamengo playmaker Thiago Neves equalized with another header in the 67th after a long cross into the area by midfielder Willians.
The match was stopped for several minutes in the first half because of a power outage near the Engenhao.
On Saturday, striker Eder Luis scored Vasco’s winner on the break in the 38th minute after rounding the goalkeeper.
In the Sao Paulo state championship, Sao Paulo defeated Portuguesa at the Arena Barueri with goals from right back Ilsinho in the 40th minute and midfielder Dagoberto in the 80th.
Sao Paulo will face Santos, which on Saturday defeated Ponte Preta 1-0 at Vila Belmiro stadium with a goal by striker Neymar, who beat two defenders before firing home a powerful left-footed shot from just inside the area in the 21st minute.
Palmeiras, the 2008 state champion, beat Mirassol with goals by Valdivia and midfielder Marcio Araujo on Sunday. Valdivia scored with a well-placed long-range shot that hit the left upper corner of the net at Pacaembu stadium, securing Luiz Felipe Scolari’s team in the semifinal against Corinthians.
Corinthians beat Oeste 2-1 on Saturday, with striker Liedson scoring in the ninth minute and substitute forward Willian netting the winner in the 66th after Oeste had equalized with a long-range shot by Fabio Santos just before halftime at Pacaembu.