Not so long ago, Flamengo looked nigh-on unbeatable. With Ronaldinho and Thiago Neves providing the cutting edge ahead of a sturdy-looking defense, all seemed rosy in the ruby-and-black corner of Rio de Janeiro. How quickly things change. Defeat to arch-rivals Corinthians on Thursday left Fla down in fifth place, closer to the bottom half than to the pace-setting Timão. The rest of the chasing pack (São Paulo, Botafogo, Vasco) all picked up maximum points, and there were also wins for Santos and Fluminense.
Brasileirão Gameweek 22 Round-up
Revenge, as they say, is a dish best served cold. With 60 minutes played at the Pacaembu, and with Corinthians trailing 1-0, Flamengo centreback Gustavo took it upon himself to deliver a cowardly thump to the midriff of Liédson, who collapsed in a heap. The act was clearly worthy of a red card, but - much to the annoyance of the home crowd - the referee failed to see the incident. Liédson, however, dished out some justice of his own, turning the match on its head with two instinctive strikes. His goals secured a significant victory for Corinthians, whose shirts all bore the inscription Dr. Sócrates in tribute to their illness-stricken idol.
A long-range effort from pocket rocket Dagoberto gave São Paulo a narrow win over Atlético-MG at the Morumbi, a result that leaves the Tricolor just two points off the lead. Botafogo also remain in the hunt; they turned in a superb performance to beat Ceará 4-0. Germán Herrera continued his excellent recent form with a brace for O Glorioso. At the São Januário, meanwhile, a stunning free-kick from Juninho Pernambucano (I wonder how many times that phrase has been used over the years...) helped Vasco to a routine win over Coritiba.
Brazil U20 starlet Oscar scored the goal of the game at the Beira-Rio, where Internacional put four past América-MG. Porto Alegre neighbours Grêmio picked up maximum points too, battling to a 2-1 victory over Bahia. Former Marseille striker Brandão got off the mark for the Tricolor in that one. Santos and Fluminense both picked up narrow wins, away to Avaí and Cruzeiro respectively. In monsoon conditions at the Ressacada, the Peixe were bailed out by youngster Felipe Anderson, who settled the match with a stunning individual strike. Elsewhere, Atlético-GO and Atlético-PR were held by Figueirense and Palmeiras respectively.
Série A results; São Paulo 2-1 Atlético-MG, Botafogo 4-0 Ceará, Internacional 4-2 América-MG, Avaí 1-2 Santos, Cruzeiro 1-2 Fluminense, Atlético-PR 2-2 Palmeiras, Atlético-GO 1-1 Figueirense, Vasco 2-0 Coritiba, Bahia 1-2 Grêmio, Corinthians 2-1 Flamengo.
(Photo credit; Ari Ferreira.)