RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazilian champions Flamengo lost for the first time in 14 matches going back to October when they were upset 2-1 by Botafogo in their Carioca championship semi-final on Wednesday.
Botafogo go through to Sunday's final of the first phase of the Rio state championship against Vasco da Gama, while Flamengo will look to recover in a bid for a fourth consecutive Carioca title in the second stage starting in 10 days time.
Flamengo, favourites to beat a team they had not lost to in 10 derbies since April 2008, went ahead in the 25th minute at the Maracana when midfielder Vinicius Pacheco exchanged a one-two with Vagner Love and scored.
Botafogo equalised nine minutes before halftime when left back Marcelo Cordeiro volleyed home the rebound after goalkeeper Bruno had blocked German Herrera's shot.
Former Flamengo and South Africa coach Joel Santana played a part in Botafogo's winner when he sent on Caio midway through the second half and the striker scored from Herrera's pass.
Referee Luiz Antonio Silva dos Santos made a bizarre decision during the match.
Having sent off midfielder Fahel for a second yellow card after a foul on Toro, he reversed the decision following protests from Botafogo players and instead booked Fabio Ferreira, who appeared to have had no part in the incident.comments