Monday, 24 October 2011

Vasco Recapture Top Spot as Corinthians Falter; Ceará Slip into Relegation Zone

Things are (finally) starting to become a bit clearer at the top of Série A. Vasco da Gama moved into pole this weekend with a victory over Bahia, while Corinthians could only manage a point against Inter. Botafogo and Flamengo, neither of which won over the weekend, are now three points adrift of the leading pair, whilst Fluminense and São Paulo must now be regarded as outside bets at best. Things remain as fraught as ever at the wrong end of the table; Atlético-MG clawed themselves out of the relegation zone at the expense of Ceará.

Brasileirão Gameweek 31 Round-up
A delightful strike from midfielder Felipe sent Vasco on their way to a comfortable win over Bahia, a result that sent the Rio club back to the Série A summit. The veteran, who has spent much of the year in the shadow of teammate Diego Souza, picked the perfect time to make his mark, curling home early on to settle his side's nerves. Corinthians, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw by resurgent Internacional. Things could have been far worse for the Timão, who were bailed out by a stunning late free-kick from Alex.

The old ones are the best: Felipe celebrates his goal for Vasco.

Botafogo, who have faltered somewhat recently, slipped to a 3-2 loss to Avaí on Saturday evening. That game was lit up by a wonderful goal from Cleverson, who netted an acrobatic volley for the Leão da Ilha. The rest of the top six also dropped points. A late header from Deivid salvaged a point for Flamengo against Santos, São Paulo played out a goalless stalemate with Coritiba, while Fluminense slipped to a disappointing defeat to Atlético Mineiro. The absence of both Fred and Rafael Moura left the Tricolor with precious little cutting edge in that latter match, allowing Daniel 'big bones' Carvalho to inspire the Galo to a much-needed win.

Figueirense, this season's loveable overachievers, stayed in the hunt for a Libertadores spot with a win over Palmeiras. That match was more one-sided than the 2-1 scoreline suggested, with Figueira (seriously, how cool a nickname is 'the fig tree'?!) impressing once more with their creativity in attack. In Sete Lagoas, Cruzeiro recorded what could prove a crucial win in their relegation battle. Vágner Mancini's side looked as fragile as ever against Atlético-GO, but clawed their way to a 3-2 win thanks to a second half brace from Anselmo Ramon. Atlético-PR also claimed a significant win over Ceará, whilst rock bottom América-MG picked up a point against Grêmio.

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

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