Monday, 22 August 2011

Botafogo Edge Back into Contention as Leaders Wobble; Santos Earn Long-Awaited Victory

I know it's early doors, but I have to ask; does anybody actually want to win this thing?! The charitable mood that has enveloped the upper echelons of the Brasileirão was again in evidence this weekend, as the top four failed to record a victory between them. That collective stumble allowed Botafogo - comfortable winners against Atlético Mineiro - to claw their way back into the reckoning. Elsewhere, South American champions Santos pulled out of the relegation zone with a long overdue victory. Yes, you did read that correctly. Leave logic at the door, and step inside the mysterious world of Série A...

Brasileirão Gameweek 18 Round-up
Let's start at the top. On Saturday evening, Corinthians hosted Figueirense - the surprise package of the season thus far. Despite dominating play at the Pacaembu, the home side would eventually come unstuck; Wellington Nem and Wilson Pittoni bagged breakaway goals for the Furacão do Estreito. Tite's side - which looked so solid earlier in the campaign - will need to regroup ahead of the clássico against Palmeiras next week. The Verdão prepared for that clash by holding São Paulo to a 1-1 draw on Sunday. São Paulo striker Dagoberto opened the scoring in stunning fashion at the Morumbi, controlling Rivaldo's through-ball and dinking a delicate lob over Marcos.

Bicicleta trend-setter; Leandro Damião celebrates his goal against Flamengo.

That strike would only be bettered once this weekend; Internacional forward Leandro Damião produced a heart-stopping overhead kick, as the Colorado battled to a 2-2 draw with Flamengo. Ronaldinho Gaúcho also bent home a free-kick in that match, taking his tally to 10 for the season. Some players are having rather less luck in front of goal; former Fenerbahçe hitman Deivid added to his burgeoning collection of amusing misses (about which Globo created this rather cruel funk video*) at the Beira-Rio. Santos, the wayward striker's former employers, finally returned to winning ways, beating Bahia in Salvador. The Peixe's winner came from Alan Kardec - who, quite brilliantly, is named after the 19th Century founder of Spiritism (don't ask).

With Vasco da Gama also dropping points (1-1 against Fluminense), Botafogo crept closer to the top four with a comfortable win over hapless Atlético-MG. The Benfica-owned Felipe Menezes bagged a smart brace for Caio Júnior's side, after Elkeson had nodded home the opener. That result left the Galo perilously close to the foot of the table; only Avaí and América Mineiro (who drew with Coritiba and Atlético-PR respectively) have fewer points. Further up the table, there were narrow victories for Cruzeiro (against Ceará) and Atlético Goianiense (who overcame Grêmio).

*In case you were wondering, the word "funk" in Brazil has precious little relation to the work of James Brown, George Clinton, et al.

Série A results; Corinthians 0-2 Figueirense, Botafogo 3-1 Atlético-MG, Cruzeiro 1-0 Ceará, Internacional 2-2 Flamengo, Avaí 0-0 Coritiba, Atlético-GO 1-0 Grêmio, São Paulo 1-1 Palmeiras, Vasco 1-1 Fluminense, Atlético-PR 2-2 América-MG, Bahia 1-2 Santos.

(Photo credit; Ricardo Rimoli.)

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