Six clubs, separated by just six points, with eleven games to play. Yes, the Brasileirão title race is taking shape nicely, with plenty of drama in store for the coming weeks. League leaders Vasco da Gama could have pulled away at the head of the table on Sunday, but could only manage a draw at home to Corinthians, whilst São Paulo and Botafogo both slipped to losses. At the other end of the table, Cruzeiro edge ever closer to relegation turmoil.
Brasileirão Gameweek 27 Round-up
It's been a funny old season for Danilo. The veteran playmaker was one of Corinthians' best players in the early stages of the campaign, only to lose his spot in the side with the arrival of Alex from Spartak Moscow. He was recalled to the starting lineup on Sunday against Vasco, and immediately set about showing Timão coach Tite what he had been missing. Danilo had a hand in both of his side's goals, setting up Alex with a beautifully weighted pass, before steering home a header late on. His contribution allowed Corinthians to leave the São Januário with a scarcely deserved point; Vasco had twice led through Dedé and Fagner.
The award for party poopers of the weekend goes to... (drum roll please)... Flamengo. The Rio giants ruined Luís Fabiano's long-awaited return to action for São Paulo with a ruthless 2-1 win at the Morumbi. Dagoberto's long range effort was the pick of the goals in that one, but that will be of little consolation to the Tricolor. In Goiânia, a quickfire Felipe brace was enough to give Atlético-GO victory over an out-of-sorts Botafogo outfit. That result saw the Dragão climb above Coritiba and Figueirense in the standings, after that pair battled to a goalless draw on Sunday afternoon.
Fluminense's weekly get-out-of-jail rescue act would be getting boring by now if it wasn't so bloody exhilarating. Santos were the latest to fall prey to the Time de Guerreiros, succumbing to a header from Márcio Rosário in the 50th minute of the second period. It was a match that had everything; a Neymar strike followed by a heads, shoulders, knees and toes celebration (I kid you not), another rocket from Rafael Sóbis (again, why are you on the bench?!), and a goal from Colombian forward Wason Rentería on his Santos début. The Peixe probably thought they'd earnt a point with that 89th minute leveller, but one writes off Fluminense at one's own peril.
At the Pituaçu, Bahia also came out on the right side of a 3-2 scoreline; late goals from Júnior and one-time wonderkid Lulinha secured a win for the Tricolor de Aço against Avaí. The latter look all but doomed this term; only América-MG (who managed a 1-1 draw with Palmeiras on Saturday) separate them from the foot of the table. The remaining members of the bottom four both picked up points this weekend; Atlético-MG drew 1-1 with nine-man Ceará, whilst Atlético-PR managed an impressive victory over Internacional. Those results leave Cruzeiro - who, recall, were tipped by many for the title - hovering just two points above the dropzone. The Raposa were soundly beaten by Grêmio at the Olímpico, and look to be in real trouble.
Série A results; Palmeiras 1-1 América-MG, Fluminense 3-2 Santos, Bahia 3-2 Avaí, São Paulo 1-2 Flamengo, Vasco 2-2 Corinthians, Atlético-MG 1-1 Ceará, Figueirense 0-0 Coritiba, Atlético-PR 2-0 Internacional, Grêmio 2-0 Cruzeiro, Atlético-GO 2-0 Botafogo.
(Photo credits; (1) Ricardo Nogueira, (2) Alexandre Loureiro.)