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Maracana pitch 'terrible', says former Brazil midfielder Diego

Xinhua,March 27, 2018 Adjust font size:

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Flamengo midfielder Diego has bemoaned the poor state of the Maracana stadium playing surface as the Rio de Janeiro giants prepare for their Carioca championship semifinal against Botafogo.

Wednesday's clash will be just the fourth time the stadium has been used for football this year amid a series of pop concerts at the home of the 2014 World Cup final.

"It's always fantastic to play at the Maracana. It's great to come back despite the terrible conditions of the pitch," Diego told reporters.

"It's unbelievable. But that [the pitch] has never been and never will be an excuse. We are going to go out there and do what we have to do," the former Atletico Madrid player added.

Flamengo's only appearance at the venue this year was a goalless draw against Vasco da Gama in January.

Fluminense and Vasco da Gama will meet in the other semifinal at the Maracana on Thursday with the winners of each match to dispute the Carioca championship final over two legs on April 1 and 8. Enditem