Flamengo seeks to avoid relegation in Brasileiro

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Brazil's famous soccer club Flamengo needs at least eight more points from the next six games to escape the relegation zone to the second division.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Rio de Janeiro:

2004 has not been a good year for arguably the most famous Brazilian soccer club of them all, as Clube de Regatas Flamengo, commonly known as Flamengo, have spent this year's Brazilian Championship (Brasileiro) fighting against the danger of relegation to the second division of the competition. Now firmly in the last-chance saloon, the former assistant coach Andrade has been promoted and last week he became Flamengo's fourth coach this season. An estimated 35 million people follow Flamengo and they have been taunted by rival fans all season. The club needs at least eight more points from the next six games to escape the relegation zone - otherwise, the unthinkable may happen for the five-time winners of the Brasileiro. As the world-famous Christ the Redeemer statue looked down upon the 2004 version of the Clube de Regatas Flamengo first team squad, it seemed rather an apt image this week. Time is running out - a total of 45 points leaves Flamengo in 18th place out of 24 with four teams relegated. "The way (to escape from the relegation zone) is to try to unify the group, to get stronger as a team and work, work hard as our worries are still there," said Andrade, coach of Flamengo. The season began with Abel as coach but he was replaced by Paulo Cesar Gusmao, who made way for Ricardo Gomes, who had just left Fluminense – Flamengo's biggest rivals in Rio de Janeiro. He won just four games in four months, and now they have turned to the 49-year-old Andrade. Flamengo executive Jose Reginaldo Dutra's loyalty to the cause is impressive but he remains a very concerned fan. "For sure, we are very worried. We are used to seeing Flamengo winning titles and suddenly, to see the situation that the team is in now. During all the year we had to listen to the jokes of the supporters of other teams, telling us that our team will go down (to the second division). So, we are worried but still believe that we will stay in the first division," said Dutra. Flamengo travel to Atletico-MG, from Minas Gerais State, this Sunday and the recovery of the five-time winners of the Brasileiro needs to start this weekend. (AP)

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