Brasileiro: Round 18 Results
|Sao Paulo 3-0 Ponte Preta
The Tricolor Paulista had the Campinas outfit on the back foot from the kick-off but were only awarded the chance to go ahead midway through the first half when Roger handled the ball inside the area. Rogerio Ceni took the penalty and dispatched it with with aplomb, putting it well out of the reach of his counterpart Edson Bastos. On his return from the Olympic Games with the national team, Lucas Moura looked extremely fresh and full of energy and his regular direct, lightning-fast acceleration was troubling the Macaca defenders who gave away numerous free-kicks against the 20-year-old.
His hard work paid dividends just four minutes later as he blasted the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards after a neat exchange of passes with both Jadson and Ademilson. With the game seemingly already in the bag Sao Paulo stepped off in the second half but their opponents offered a minimal threat going forward. Osvaldo completed the scoring with a supreme individual effort as he dribbled past three men before sending an emphatic finish past the keeper and into the roof of the net.
The win sees Ney Franco's men rise to sixth in the table while Ponte Preta continue to slid down the rankings despite their promising start, occupying 14th position.
|Gremio 4-0 Figueirense
Gremio never looked like losing as they thrashed struggling Figueirense 4-0 at the Olimpico.
It was clear from the start that the Florianopolis side were going to be in for a tough night as Marcelo Moreno rattled the post with a bicycle kick early on, and the Bolivian hit the other post after Ze Roberto and Leandro had had a goals chalked off for offside during the first half. They finally found the net in the 36th minute as Moreno sprung the offside trap before cutting the ball back for Elano to slide into the back of the net. Four minutes later they doubled their advantage and the Bolivian was the provider once more. His cross-field pass was picked up by Leandro and the 19-year-old produced an unerring finish that goalkeeper Wilson had no chance of stopping.
The Imortal Tricolor began the second half as they ended the first and Leandro doubled his tally for the night in the 50th minute. Moreno completed a hat-trick of assists as his endeavour to retain the ball in the area ended with a short pass back to his strike partner who slotted the ball into the far corner. Figueira managed to hit the woodwork late in the second half but Andre Lima completed the rout in the final minute as he pounced on the rebound of a great stop by Wilson from Marquinhos to score his fifth goal of the season.
Gremio remain three points clear of their local rivals Internacional in the fourth Copa Libertadores qualification spot. Figueirense remain rooted to the bottom of the table having won just two games so far this season.
|Atletico Mineiro 3-2 Botafogo
Atletico Mineiro ensured that they would top the league at the half-way point with a 3-2 win over Botafogo in an exhilarating game at the Independencia.
The game was evenly contested during the first half with the only real chance of the opening 30 minutes falling to Jo, but the Manchester City striker was unable to beat Jefferson in the Fogao net. The visitors then took a surprise lead in the 36th minute as Andrezinho completed a quick breakaway with a shot that bounced over Victor and into the goal. Galo were not behind for long though and they equalised with first-half minutes remaining as Damian Escudero finished for the hosts after Jo's initial effort was saved by Jefferson.
Jo did eventually get the better of Jefferson nine minutes into the second half, however, as he powered the ball into an open goal via the bar after Ronaldinho drew the keeper out before cutting the ball back. The striker was unable to add to his tally later in the night despite a golden opportunity and it looked as though it would prove costly when Andrezinho scored from the penalty spot in the 81st minute. There was still time for one more twist though as Neto Berola produced a fantastically composed finished to announce his return after a three-month spell on the sidelines with injury with a hugely important goal.
Galo therefore hold onto their three-point lead at the summit of the league and also hold a game in hand over second-placed Fluminense. Botafogo, meanwhile, remain in seventh position.
|Santos 3-2 Corinthians
Santos continued their climb up the table after coming from behind to defeat Corinthians at the Vila Belmiro in the Classico Alvinegro.
In a re-match of this year's Copa Libertadores semi-final between the two sides it was the Timao who once again looked the most threatening during the opening stages. Rafael was forced to make two great saves to deny Romarinho either side of a thunderous strike from Ralf. The Musketeers did eventually capitalise on their dominance as Danilo flicked a header into the far corner from Douglas' free-kick in the 29th minute. The Peixe drew level before the break though as Neymar showed tremendous pace to burn past three defenders before drilling a cross that Andre tapped into the back of the net to score his first goal for the club which he departed in 2010.
The turnaround was complete just four minutes into the second half as Corinthians failed to deal with a ball from deep. Durval diverted a knock-down on target but Andre made sure by heading it over the line and despite a hint of offside, the goal stood. The former Atletico Mineiro player saw his chances of a hat-trick disappear when he headed wide in the 67th minute and it looked to have proved costly when Juan Manuel Martinez tied the game once more with his first goal since joining from Velez Sarsfield. Santos were unperturbed though and with just six minutes left on the clock Bruno Rodrigo sent a bullet header past Cassio from Neymar's corner.
Muricy Ramalho's side now sit in 12th position, just two points adrift of the top half of the table and Corinthians, who occupy 10th spot.
|Best of the Rest
A late strike from young striker Samuel ensured Fluminense beat Sport Recife 1-0 while Nautico also bested relegation-candidates Bahia by the same scoreline. Cruzeiro's inconsistencies continued as they were trounced 4-0 by Coritiba and a solitary strike from Vagner Love handed Flamengo victory over Rio de Janeiro rivals Vasco da Gama in the Classico dos Milhoes. Struggling Atletico Goianiense made it four games without defeat as they beat Palmeiras 2-1 at home and elsewhere, Portuguesa earned an impressive point in a 1-1 tie against Internacional.
|Player of the Round
He may not have found the net but Marcelo Moreno showed that he is just as important to Gremio in terms of creativity with a hat-trick of assists in the 4-0 win over Figueirense. The visiting defenders will have nightmares about the Bolivia international as he scythed through their resistance with a series of well-timed and dangerous runs. He would have no doubt wanted to cap such a fine display with a goal to add to the six he already has this season, but his ability to linkup well with whoever his strike-partner is may have made him a certainty for the starting line-up of Vanderlei Luxemburgo's side.