There were three midweek games involving Brazilian clubs this week, two of them in the Copa Sul-Americana. The other, a postponed Brasileirão game, could prove more significant in the long-run...
Santos 2-0 Botafogo
Breathe a sigh of relief. At times it looked as though they'd never make it, but Santos' Big Catch-up™ is over. Having had what seems like half of their league fixtures this year postponed for one reason or another (Libertadores, international matches), the Peixe are finally on an even footing with their Brasileirão competitors. Although a Série A challenge has passed the seasiders by, they can still have a big say in the eventual destination of the title, as demonstrated on Wednesday evening.
Santos turned in an excellent display at the Vila, beating in-form Botafogo thanks to two goaks before the interval. Neymar, who has added a peroxide tint to his already extravagant barnet, scored the opener, prodding into the far corner after some typically skilful approach play. The lead was swiftly doubled, courtesy of Borges' 22nd Brasileirão goal of the season. The striker could hardly be more different in style to Neymar, as evidenced by his strike - a primitive hammer blow that fizzed passed the blameless Jefferson. Botafogo showed signs of recovery in the second period, but could not manage to reduce the arrears. They remain two points behind Corinthians and Vasco.
Copa Sul-Americana Round-up
When Vasco were roundly beaten by Aurora in the Sul-Americana a fortnight ago, they at least had the excuse of having fielded a reserve side. How Flamengo fans must wish Vanderlei Luxemburgo had done the same on Wednesday night. As it was, a strong Rubro-Negro side was humbled by Universidad de Chile; the visitors romped to a convincing 4-0 win in Rio de Janeiro. Gustavo Lorenzetti scored the pick of the goals, bending home a low effort to round off a devastating second half counter attack. At the Morumbi, meanwhile, interim coach Milton Cruz guided São Paulo to a win over Libertad. Luís Fabiano scored his first goal since returning to the club with a well-taken volley, leaving the Tricolor in pole position to reach the quarter finals.
Results. Série A: Santos 2-0 Botafogo. Sul-Americana: Flamengo 0-4 Universidad de Chile, São Paulo 1-0 Libertad.
(Photo credit; Miguel Schincariol.)