Gameweek 18 Round-up
In front of just 3,000 fans at the Prudentão, Botafogo snatched a 1-0 victory against Grêmio Prudente, thanks to Maicosuel's breakaway effort. The three points sees Joel Santana's men sneak into the top four, overtaking Internacional who could only manage a dull goalless draw with Vitória in Salvador. Grêmio, Porto Alegre's other representatives in the Brasileirão, overcame Guarani at the Olímpico; Jonas' far-post header enough to earn them the spoils. Santos moved up to third with a 2-1 win over Avaí. Neymar's low drive put the Peixe ahead, before beefy striker Marcel smashed home a second. Válber pulled one back late on for Avaí, but Santos held on for the win.
Marcel (left) and Alan Patrick celebrate Santos' second.
Wednesday night was kind on the teams from Belo Horizonte, both of which picked up maximum points. Atlético Mineiro finally showed the kind of form their starting XI suggests they're capable of, beating Goiás 3-1 away from home. Bernado put the Esmeraldino ahead from the penalty spot, but Atlético levelled with a spot-kick of their own; cult figure Obina (the subject of one of Brasil's most bizarre chants; "Ôôô, Obina é melhor que o Eto'o!" ("Oohhhhh, Obina's better than Eto'o!")) slamming home from twelve yards. Diego Souza put the Galo ahead in the second half, before another Obina penalty sealed the win. Cruzeiro spoilt Silas' first game as Flamengo coach at the Parque do Sabiá, beating the Rubro-Negro 1-0 thanks to Robert's opportunistic finish.
Fluminense were frustrated at home for the second time in a week, this time conceding a last minute goal to draw 1-1 with Palmeiras. There were touching scenes before kick-off as Luiz Felipe Scolari was reunited with Deco, but any niceties were soon forgotton in a tense game. Emerson put the Tricolor ahead after a goalmouth scramble, and Flu had ample chances to double their lead. They would be made to pay, as Ewerton struck in the third minute of injury time. Atlético Paranaense continued their surprising form, beating Ceará 2-1 at the Arena da Baixada. Branquinho's cool finish gave the Furacão the lead, before Chico volleyed home an emphatic second. Ceará scored a lovely goal through Magno Alves, but it would prove nothing more than a consolation.
The final game saw São Paulo beat Atlético Goianiense 2-1, but stay tuned for more details on that match and my trip to the stadium.
(Photo credit; Ivan Storti)