Veteran Botafogo striker Sebastian Abreu was in sensational form to lead his side to a 3-1 victory in Sunday's Taca Rio final, as two goals from 'El Loco' sank Vasco's hopes of making the grand final of the Carioca State Championship.
Playing for the chance to meet Taca Guanabara champions Fluminense in the competition's decisive fixture, Botafogo could not have hoped for a better start against their Rio rivals. A flowing move started from deep inside their own half ended with Abreu clear on goal, and the 35 year old stroked the ball home with just three minutes on the clock.
The Uruguayan converted again on the stroke of half time, before Maicosuel further extended the Fogao lead after the break and appeared to sink any chances Vasco may have had of a comeback. A brief glimpse of hope came with Carlos Alberto's consolation 10 minutes from the end, but it was too late and the Cruzmaltino could not break a nine year run without victory in the state competition.
Botafogo move on to play the Tricolor in the final Carioca match of 2012, as they look to repeat the triumph of 2010 against their city rivals.
Elsewhere, Internacional narrowly overcame bitter rivals Gremio to win the second half of the Gaucho Championship, as well as the right to take on surprise first stage winners Caxias in the Rio Grande do Sul final.
Goals from Jesus Datolo and Fabricio sealed victory for the Colorado, who hit back late in the second half after Gremio had equalised through defender Werley. The Porto Alegre side lift the Taca Farroupilha, and now meet Caxias; who triumphed on penalties to beat Novo Hamburgo to the Taca Piratini.