As title-clinching wins go, Fluminense's victory over Palmeiras on November 11 felt slightly anticlamactic. Sure, Brazilian broadcaster Globo wheeled out treasured commentator Galvão Bueno for the occasion (the Brazilian analogue of the proverbial fat lady clearing her throat) and the match itself produced the goods (Flu won 3-2, simultaneously pushing their opponents further down a path that ended in relegation a couple of weeks later), but the occasion felt flat.
The explanation was simple: the Tricolor's second Brasileirão in three seasons had long had an air of inevitability about it. This is not to belittle the achievement. The Rio giants, while perhaps not the neutrals'
choice, were ruthless in pursuit of their tetracampeonato. With
one game to play, they have conceded just 31 goals - the fewest in the
league - and scored the second most. They have lost just four of 37
games. The resilience that earnt them the nickname Time de Guerreiros (Team of Warriors) has hardly even been needed; relentless efficiency has been the key.
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