RIO DE JANEIRO, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Ronaldinho scored a 92nd-minute penalty to give Flamengo a dramatic 2-1 victory over fierce rival Vasco da Gama on Saturday and momentarily silence his critics.
It comes three days after Flamengo's 3-2 defeat to Ecuador's Emelec, which leaves the team relying on other results to remain in the Copa Libertadores.
After the match an emotional Ronaldinho responded to reports the club was considering his sale.
"Since I arrived here I have always been treated with love and affection," the former Barcelona and AC Milan star said.
"That's the way I want to leave - through the front door and doing everything I can to help my teammates."
Ronaldinho, who entered Saturday's match at Rio's Engenhao stadium with just two goals from open play this season, appeared determined to regain the support of disgruntled fans.
The 32-year old was eager to be involved from the outset and on several occasions tracked back to help in defense, something absent from his game in recent weeks.
Flamengo took the lead after 16 minutes through Deivid before substitute Diego Souza equalized for Vasco five minutes after the interval.
The game ended in controversy when referee Vagner dos Santos Rosa pointed to the spot after Vasco goalkeeper Fernando Prass brought down Leo Moura.
Flamengo remains top of group A in the Rio Cup while Vasco is now second in group B with one match remaining.
Also in the Rio Cup on Saturday, first-half goals to Lanzini and Thiago Neves were enough to give Fluminense a 2-1 away victory against Madureira.
Wellington Junior scored a late consolation goal, but it wasn't enough to stop his team slipping to 7th spot in group A.
Fluminense, already guaranteed a place in the Copa Carioca final after winning last month's Guanabara Cup, is third in group B.
Fluminense will regain rested stars Deco and Fred for Wednesday's Copa Libertadores match against Boca Juniors in Rio.
In the Sao Paulo championship, first-half strikes from Fernandinho and Casemiro ensured Sao Paulo a comfortable 2-0 win against Mogi Mirim.
The result gives Sao Paulo a three-point advantage over Corinthians, who will meet Paulista on Sunday.