DAVID SMITH - Monday, February 22, 2021
Johnny Cardoso and Internacional will have their work cut out for them next weekend as they fell from the top spot in the Brazilian Serie A standings following their loss to Flamengo.
Flamengo 2-1 Internacional
Flamengo will enter the final games of the Serie A season with the advantage as goals from Giorgian de Arrascaeta and Gabriel Barbosa propelled them to the win at the Maracana Stadium.
Johnny would enter late in the game, playing eight minutes, as the Red were forced to play with 10 men for a majority of the second half.
Internacional entered the contest at the top of the standings a point ahead of their Rio de Janeiro opponents as they hoped a win would have widened the gap and guaranteed them their first league title since 1979. Now, they will need lady luck on their side next weekend if want any chance of finishing at the top of the mountain.
Things did start off well for the visitors early in the first half as the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty after Gustavo Henrique was caught bringing down Yuri Alberto in the area. Edenilson would then step up to put away the spot-kick in the 12th minute.
The early deficit set Flamengo on the charge and they were rewarded with the equalizer in the 29th minute as de Arrascaeta latched onto a low cross from Bruno Henrique to slot the ball home.
It was a fairly even game, but things took a turn minutes into the second half when the referee blew his whistle for a foul. After a review by the video assistant referee, he returned to the field to flash a red card at Rodinei as he stamped down violently on the foot of Flamengo's Filipe Luis.
This would give the host the advantage for the duration of the game.
Barbosa would go on to score the eventual game-winner in the 63rd minute. A slick through-ball from de Arrascaeta found his striking partner, and he would make it count as the ball took a slight deflection off an Internacional defender before nestling into the goal.
It was a tough loss for the team from Porto Alegre, but the title is still up for grabs.
Johnny and Internacional will look for the win on Friday when they welcome Corinthians to Estadio Jose Pinheiro Borda while they hope Sao Paulo will do them a favor as Flamengo heads on the road for their final game.