Just when you think you're getting to grips with Série A's runners and riders, things get complicated. Corinthians, the runaway league leaders, lost their second match on the bounce on Saturday, succumbing to lowly Avaí. São Paulo also continue to stutter; they went down to Vasco at the Morumbi. Cruzeiro and Santos, both widely tipped for glory this season, also tasted defeat over the weekend. In Colombia, meanwhile, Brazil's U20 side started their World Cup campaign against Egypt. So, without further delay...
Brasileirão Gameweek 13 Round-up
It's been a tough week for Renan. Since replacing the injured Júlio César in the Corinthians side, the young goalkeeper has let in five goals; the same number his side conceded in their first ten games of the campaign. To make matters worse, it was his former club Avaí that inflicted the damage on Sunday, storming to a 3-2 victory over the Timão. Rafael Coelho scored the pick of the goals at the Ressacada, bursting through a static Corinthians defence to finish with aplomb. That result allowed Flamengo to reduce the gap at the top to just one point; the Rubro-Negro cruised to a 2-0 victory over Grêmio. Ronaldinho was again the star of the show, scoring one and setting up another against his boyhood club.
São Paulo, meanwhile, wasted their chance to gain ground on their bitter rivals, losing to Vasco at the Morumbi. Ricardo Gomes got his tactics spot on against his former employers, selecting Jumar to man mark Lucas, and pushing Juninho Pernambucano into a more advanced position. Breakaway goals from Éder Luís and substitute Felipe ensured that the Gigante da Colina earnt the three points that their disciplined display deserved. Botafogo also battled to an impressive away win, beating Cruzeiro thanks to a powerful strike from returning hero 'Loco' Abreu.
Having thrown away a 3-0 lead against Flamengo during the week, Santos were keen to make amends against Atlético Paranaense. The Furação, however, had other ideas, and turned in an inspired performance on the waterlogged Arena da Baixada turf. Following lovely goals from Cléber Santana and Neymar, it was Marcinho who settled the match with a late header. The Peixe now find themselves in the relegation zone, albeit with three games in hand. Another big side struggling for form is Atlético-MG, who succumbed to Palmeiras at the Canindé. Under fire midfielder Marcos Assunção scored the goal of the game, bending home a trademark free kick from distance.
After weeks of frustration, Fluminense finally came up with a convincing display, brushing aside Ceará at the Engenhão. Rafael Sobis opened his account for the Tricolor with a smart left-footed strike, whilst Fred also bagged his first goal of the Brasileirão season. Internacional, Sobis' former club, could only manage a 0-0 draw with Atlético Goianiense. Maybe a mid-season trip to Germany wasn't such a great idea after all. Elsewhere, there were good wins for Bahia (against Figueirense) and Coritiba (who consigned América Mineiro to last place in the table).
U20 World Cup Round-up
Ney Franco's Brazil side endured a tricky start to their U20 World Cup campaign, battling to a 1-1 with Egypt. Recent Porto signing Danilo put the seleção ahead with a powerful header from a corner, but Egypt reacted immediately, restoring parity through Omar Gaber. With the likes of Casemiro and Oscar unable to recapture their recent club form, Brazil were second best for long spells in Barranquilla, and in the end will likely have been content with a point. Next up for the youngsters; Austria.
Results. Série A; Flamengo 2-0 Grêmio, Cruzeiro 0-1 Botafogo, Palmeiras 3-2 Atlético-MG, São Paulo 0-2 Vasco, Fluminense 4-0 Ceará, Internacional 0-0 Atlético-GO, Avaí 3-2 Corinthians, Atlético-PR 3-2 Santos, América-MG 1-3 Coritiba, Bahia 3-1 Figueirense. U20 World Cup; Brazil 1-1 Egypt.
(Photo credits; (1) Cristiano Andujar, (2) Paulo Sergio.)