It was an enjoyable weekend in the Campeonato Brasileiro for the four Rio clubs, all of whom picked up wins and find themselves in the top half of the table. Fluminense extended their lead over Corinthians with an impressive victory over Internacional, whilst Flamengo and Botafogo also picked up maximum points. We start, though, at the Prudentão, where Grêmio Prudente hosted Vasco.
Grêmio Prudente 1-2 Vasco
Unbeaten since the World Cup break, Vasco continued their fine form to pick up a first away win of the campaign against Grêmio Prudente. The rejuvination of the Gigante da Colina in past weeks can largely be attributed to new coach PC Gusmão, who has done a wonderful job; turning a disorganised side in the bottom four into a solid mid-table prospect. His task has been made easier by a number of intelligent signings; in particular strikers Zé Roberto and Éder Luís, and veteran playmaker Felipe, all of whom made Sunday's starting line-up.
With just nine minutes on the clock, Éder Luís bagged his first goal for the visitors. Fágner's searching cross deceived the Prudente defence, allowing the former Benfica striker to smash home a half-volley from close range. Vasco dominated the remainder of the half, and would have doubled their lead but for some poor finishing. Gusmão, though, will have been pleased with his new attacking trio; the direct running of Zé Roberto looks the perfect fit for the more measured approach of Éder Luís and the cunning of Felipe.
Grêmio Prudente briefly rallied in the second period, and got back on level terms with a glorious effort. João Vítor found a metre of space outside the area before pinging a stunning effort in off the post. Fernando Prass in the Vasco goal barely saw it. The São Januário club, however, were not to be denied, and were awarded a penalty when left-back Max was blocked in the box. Nílton's saw his initial spot-kick saved by Abelha 'keeper Giovanni, but was on hand to smash home the rebound. The result sees Vasco creep up to ninth, while the home side hover above the relegation zone.
Gameweek 14 Round-up
Luiz Felipe Scolari finally claimed his first win as Palmeiras coach on Saturday, as his side soundly beat Atlético Paranaense at the Pacaembu. Danilo's header put the Verdão ahead, before Ewerton sealed the win; finishing emphatically after controlling Tinga's scooped pass. Flamengo finally ended their three game goal duck against Ceará at the Maracanã, thanks to a penalty from their talisman Petkovic. The Serbian coolly slotted home the only goal of the game after Willians had been felled in the box.
Botafogo make their way up to fourth in the standings following a 2-0 away win against Atlético Goianiense. Somália's second goal in two games put O Glorioso ahead in the second half, before Jóbson rounded the goalkeeper late on to seal the win. Atlético Goianiense remain rooted to the foot of the table. Saturday's final game saw Atlético Mineiro finally get their Brasileirão campaign back on track, after five games without a win. A stunning second half display from the Galo saw them overwhelm Guarani at the Ipatingão, and ease to a 3-1 win. The main man for the home side was, as ever, Diego Tardelli; the striker netted a second half brace to put his side in the driving seat. Obina added a third, heading home from Diego Souza's delicate cross, before Mazola netted a late consolation for the Bugre.
Sunday's games saw Fluminense increase their lead over Corinthians at the head of the table with a 3-0 demolition of an under-strength Inter side. The Tricolor went ahead after 19 minutes; Mariano's effort flicked off the heels of Darío Conca, leaving Inter 'keeper Renan wrongfooted as the ball trickled into the net. The lead was quickly doubled, as Washington headed magnificently home from Conca's corner. The Argentine playmaker was again the provider for the home side's third; slipping a delightful pass through to Emerson (nicknamed Sheik after spells in Qatar and the Emirates), who found the net with a low finish. With Deco still to reinforce the side, Fluminense look unstoppable on current form.
Corinthians, meanwhile, were beaten by Avaí in an exciting game at the Ressacada. The Leão da Ilha went ahead early on, when Davi deftly finished after Caio's through ball. Bruno César levelled for Corinthians, slotting home nonchalantly after a well-timed burst into the area, but Avaí soon took control of the game. A dangerous cross from right-back Patric forced Chicão to turn into his own net, before Rafael made it 3-1 to the home side. Bruno César grabbed his second to create a tense finalé, but Avaí held on for the three points. Grêmio avenged their midweek Copa Sul-Americana loss to Goiás by beating the Esmeraldino 2-0 at the Olímpico. Willian Magrão was twice on hand to benefit from the chaos caused by Douglas' wicked deadball delivery.
Revenge was also in the air in Salvador, where Vitória romped to a 4-2 win over their Copa do Brasil nemesis Santos. Henrique headed the home side into the lead, before Wallace doubled the lead, taking advantage of some hesitant goalkeeping by Santos' Felipe. Marcel bustled his way into the area and smashed home to reduce the arrears, but Henrique's second of the night gave Vitória a 3-1 lead going into the interval. Schwenk would later add a fourth from the penalty spot, but not before the Peixe had scored the goal of the game; Zé Éduardo volleying home from a tight angle after Madson's glorious pass. At the Morumbi, a late Ricardo Oliveira strike rescued a point for São Paulo against Cruzeiro. The home side had led through Casemiro's first half header, but the Raposa took control of the tie thanks to Wellington Paulista's tap-in and Thiago Ribeiro's cool finish. With just seconds remaining, however, Fernandinho wriggled free down the right, and crossed for Ricardo Oliveira to equalise.
(Photo credits; (1) Marcelo Sadio/Vasco.com.br, (2) Carlos Costa, (3) Cleber Mendes.)