It was a weekend replete with city rivalry in Brazil, with three clássicos taking place in Série A. Flamengo delighted their fans with a 1-0 victory over Fluminense in the Rio derby, whilst Santos and Atlético Mineiro also earnt local bragging rights. Elsewhere, Rivaldo returned to the São Paulo lineup, and inspired the Tricolor to victory over Cruzeiro.
Brasileirão Gameweek 9 Round-up
Rio, for some unfathomable reason, has tended to produce derby matches of almost unbearably low quality over the last six months. That trend was instantiated once more at the weekend, when Fluminense met Flamengo; there were no fewer than ninety misplaced passes, as both sides struggled for fluency. The match, in the end, was settled by Rubro-Negro midfielder Willians, who headed home at the end of a rare flowing move. That win for Fla - their fourth in a row - puts them second in Série A, just behind Corinthians, who beat Atlético-GO 1-0 on Sunday.
In the clássico paulista, Palmeiras brushed Santos aside to consolidate their place in the top four. The Verdão were irresistible in the first half at the Pacaembu; Maikon Leite opened the scoring against his former employers, before further strikes from Márcio Araújo and Patrik put the game to bed. São Paulo returned to winning ways on Saturday evening, overcoming in-form Cruzeiro. Rivaldo, restored to the Tricolor starting lineup after months of frustration (and complaining) under the stewardship of Paulo César Carpegiani, turned in an excellent display, contributing to both of his side's goals.
The weekend's third derby saw Atlético Mineiro host América-MG at the Arena do Jacaré. In a hard-fought game, it was the Galo who did enough to claim the points; Jônatas Obina and Neto Berola netted either side of the interval to give Atlético a 2-0 win. In Porto Alegre, meanwhile, former seleção midfielder Gilberto Silva scored his first goal since returning to Série A; the 34-year-old thumped home a header to send Grêmio on their way to a routine win over Coritiba. Leandro, a player at the other end of the football age spectrum, excelled in that match, providing assists for both of the Tricolor's goals.
Another week, another penalty area crisis caused by a Juninho Pernambucano free-kick. Young Internacional goalkeeper Muriel was the unlucky party this time out; he blocked Juninho's strike, only for Vasco defender Dedé to nod home the rebound. That goal sealed a 2-0 win for the Gigante da Colina. Fellow Rio giants Botafogo, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw by Bahia in Salvador. In-form striker Elkeson put the visitors ahead, only for Fahel to equalise against his former club. The week's final two matches - Atlético-PR vs Avaí and Figueirense vs Ceará - both ended in deadlock.
Corinthians hosted Inter on Thursday night, in another inexplicable piece of Série A scheduling. for the second time this week, a single strike from the excellent Willian handed maximum points to the Timão. Tite's side are now six points clear at the head of the table.
Série A results; São Paulo 2-1 Cruzeiro, Vasco 2-0 Internacional, Atlético-PR 0-0 Avaí, Fluminense 0-1 Flamengo, Grêmio 2-0 Coritiba, Atlético-GO 0-1 Corinthians, Bahia 1-1 Botafogo, Palmeiras 3-0 Santos, Atlético-MG 2-0 América-MG, Figueirense 1-1 Ceará, Corinthians 1-0 Internacional.
(Photo credits; (1) Tom Dib, (2) Bruno de Lima.)