The segundo turno of the Brasileirão got underway this week, with Fluminense cementing their position at the top of the table. The Rio club triumphed over Ceará, while Corinthians could only manage a draw against Atlético-PR. Elsewhere, Botafogo and Cruzeiro maintained their great form to oust Santos from the top four.
Fluminense 3-1 Ceará
After two draws and a defeat in the previous three games, Fluminense entered Wednesday's game at the Engenhão looking to get their title tilt back on track. They could hardly have chosen a better opponent; Ceará have been steadily dropping down the table since the World Cup break, and look a shadow of the side that performed so well under PC Gusmão. Flu, though, were without in-form striker Emerson, who looks set to be out for a month due to injury.
Any worries that the Tricolor had about adapting to their new home (both they and Flamengo will host most of their games at the Engenhão while the Maracanã undergoes a facelift) were dispelled within six minutes; Mariano's cross from the right flank decieved Michel Alves in the Ceará goal and drifted in at the far post. The home side went on to dominate the opening period, and extended their lead thanks to a brace from Washington. Both were typical Fluminense goals; cool finishes from the big man following outstanding build-up play from Darío Conca.
The second period saw Fluminense understandably take their collective foot off the pedal. Ceará had a couple of decent chances; Kempes headed over from close range and Magno Alves saw has effort clawed away by Fernando Henrique. The Vovô were finally awarded for their toil with a goal, but Geraldo's deflected finish came far too late to worry Flu. Muricy Ramalho's men now hold a three point lead over second-placed Corinthians, but have played one more game than the São Paulo club.
Gameweek 20 Round-up
Goiás recorded only their fourth win over the season, seeing off Guarani at the Serra Dourada. Felipe put the Esmeraldino ahead with a low finish, before Rafael Moura made it two from the spot. Felipe added a penalty of his own in the second half, and Mário Lúcio grabbed a late consolation for the Campinas side. A good result, but as coach Jorginho highlighted after the game, Goiás must produce performances like this far more regularly to escape relegation. Fellow strugglers and neighbours Atlético Goianiense were brought down to earth after last week's goleada of Vitória, losing 2-0 to a resurgent Grêmio side. Douglas, finally starting to show some of the form of his days with Corinthians, gave the Tricolor the lead with a beautiful free-kick, before Borges sealed the points late on.
Atlético Mineiro also remain in the mire at the foot of the table, drawing 1-1 with Vasco at the São Januário. The Rio side, again without their captain Carlos Alberto through injury (the Brazilian Darren Anderton?), took the lead with a rasping effort from former Atlético striker Éder Luís, but the Galo earnt a point thanks to Ricardinho's penalty in the dying minutes. Cruzeiro, Belo Horizonte's other top-flight club are having a considerably better run in Série A, and snuck into the top four following a 1-0 over Inter. Midfielder Everton's first half volley was enough to give the Raposa the victory.
Ronaldo's first goal since May was not enough for Corinthians, who stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Atlético-PR. O Fenômeno smashed home a penalty after a handball, but Bruno Mineiro levelled with a late spot-kick of his own after a digusting dive by Wagner Diniz. Palmeiras too were held away from home, drawing with Vitória at the Barradão. Elkeson, a youngster starting to make a name for himself, put the Leão ahead with a controlled drive, but Tadeu pounced on a rebound to ensure that the points were shared. 1-1 was also the score at the Prudentão, where Grêmio Prudente came from behind against Avaí. Rudnei headed the visitors into the lead, but the Abelha equalised with just five minutes to go through Rafael Martins.
Botafogo move up to third after beating Santos 1-0 at the Pacaembu. In a tight game, it was Uruguayan striker 'Loco' Abreu who handed the points to O Glorioso with a stunning goal. The giant striker, receiving a cross in the area, flicked the ball over Santos 'keeper Rafael before volleying emphatically into the roof of the net. São Paulo continued their recovery, comfortably beating Flamengo at the Morumbi. The Tricolor were ahead within ten minutes; Marlos calmly rounding Marcelo Lomba to finish following a delightful through-ball from Marcelinho. Flamengo were reduced to ten men when Diogo received a second yellow for blatant simulation, and went on to concede a second; a trademark towering header from Fernandão sealed the points for the home side.
(Photo credits; (1) Gilvan de Souza, (2) Ari Ferreira.)