Brasileiro: Round 22 Results
|Cruzeiro 1-3 Botafogo
In round 3 the Raposa came from two goals down to defeat the Rio de Janeiro side, and with 18 minutes played in this match they were going to have to emulate their hosts this time around if they wanted to secure the win. Souza played a long ball up to Borges and although the striker saw his poked shot parried away by Renan, Tinga was on hand to fire in the rebound from the top of the box. Everton dragged a glorious opportunity to double their lead wide moments later and it proved to be an extremely costly miss.
With 10 first-half minutes remaining Seedorf met Fellype Gabriel's cross unmarked at the back post and put an accurate volley back across goal and out of the reach of Fabio. Then, just one minute later, the Dutchman handed Fogao the lead. Fellype Gabriel was the creator once more as he plucked Andrezinho's lofted pass down and rolled it back towards Seedorf who drilled a low shot in at the near post. Botafogo continued to impress in the second half and with 56 minutes played the former AC Milan man showed a turn of pace belying his years to charge away from Leandro Guerreiro and cross the ball for Jadson who rounded the keeper and slotted in his side's third.
Cruzeiro were denied a route back into the game with 20 minutes remaining as Renan put in a terrific stop from Everton and so the Belo Horizonte side fall to eighth position after being displaced by Botafogo.
|Gremio 2-1 Atletico Goianiense
Gremio put themselves right in the title race with a 2-1 win over struggling Atletico Goianiense at the Olimpico.
The Dragao had won just once in their previous nine games and were under pressure immediately from Vanderlei Luxemburgo's men. With two minutes played 19-year-old Leandro rattled the bar but the home crowd would not have to wait much longer for the first goal. Elano, who has been rejuvenated since his move to Porto Alegre, curled home a wondrous free kick from a central position, 20 yards from goal, that left Marcio with no chance. The former Manchester City man then added his second nine minutes later by stabbing home at the back post from Ze Roberto's square pass.
The euphoric scenes were cut short though as in the 25th minute, Atletico pulled one back. Marcio's free kick was saved by Marcelo Grohe but a penalty-box scramble ensued which resulted in Marino sweeping home the equaliser. Andre Lima was then thwarted by a majestic save from the Dragao keeper but the finishing in the second half was by far inferior. The men between the posts continued to deny the opposition with both Leandro and Ernandes halted by some fantastic goalkeeping in the second half.
Werley missed a great chance to wrap the game up in the final minutes but nevertheless the Imortal Tricolor took all three points to move within one of league leaders Atletico Mineiro. Atletico Goianiense, meanwhile, return to the foot of the table.
|Sao Paulo 1-1 Internacional
Sao Paulo and Internacional played out a 1-1 draw at the Morumbi in a result that helps the Copa Libertadores prospects of neither side.
Unfortunately, the congested Brazilian calendar means the league cannot stop for international games and so the fixture was given a little less sparkle due to the absences of Lucas Moura and Leandro Damiao from their respective sides. However, it did not take long for the game to kick into life with Dagoberto scoring, in his first start since spending a month on the sidelines with injury, in the seventh minute, and it came against his former club. The forward lashed the ball into the top corner from Fabricio's cross with a ferocious half-volley before Rogerio Ceni even had a chance to react.
The Colorado only held the lead for 11 minutes though as great perseverance to hold on to possession from Osvaldo enabled him to get the ball into the middle where Maicon diverted it into the net with a close-range header. From then on Ney Franco's men were the superior side but they were unable to break through a stern Inter defence. Ceni narrowly missed the target with a free kick in the second half before Andres D'Alessandro was shown a second yellow card after 73 minutes for what the referee believed to be a dive in the area. Osvaldo and Luis Fabiano came close to securing all three points for the hosts but they were unable to beat Muriel.
Sao Paulo remain in fifth position following the draw, level on points with sixth-placed Internacional, but they are both four points away from the final Libertadores qualification spot.
|Fluminense 3-1 Santos
Fluminense earned a huge result as they overcame a Neymar and Ganso-less Santos 3-1 at the Engenhao.
Yet despite the absence of their star duo it was Muricy Ramalho's team that had the best chance to take the lead in the opening stages. Gerson Magrao saw his 20-yard effort batted to the side by Diego Cavalieri but with the goal gaping, Bill was unable to convert the follow-up. Fluzao responded well with Carlinhos and Wellington Nem proving to be a real handful for the visitors' defence. Their determination reaped rewards as in the 21st minute an excellent team move ended with Wellington Nem tapping the ball in at the back post after a beautiful cross from Jean. However, they only held the advantage for eight minutes as Digao's failure to clear a centre from Magrao enabled Andre to fire the ball past Cavalieri and restore parity.
The match became increasingly stretched and in the closing stages of the first half it was the Tricolor Carioca who capitalised. Carlinhos released Wagner down the left and his first-time delivery was nodded home by Wellington Nem to put Abel Braga's men back in front. In their desperation to tie the game once more Santos left themselves short at the back and Flu put them to the sword once more. Thiago Neves picked out Samuel to the left of the box and the youngster, who had pulled away from his marker, curled a wonderful right-footed shot into the far corner as all Rafael could do was watch it sail in.
The win moves Fluminense up onto the summit of the Brasileiro while Santos remain dangerously close to the drop zone in 14th position.
|Best of the Rest
A 1-0 defeat to Ponte Preta means that Flamengo have won just three games out of 10 under the stewardship of Dorival Junior as they continue to move closer to the relegation zone. Ananias and Bruno Mineiro were once more in top form as Portuguesa brushed Coritiba aside with a 3-0 win. Vasco da Gama were held 1-1 away to Nautico while Atletico Mineiro were knocked off top-spot for the first time since round 7 following a 0-0 draw with Bahia. Caio scored his seventh goal of the season to earn Figueirense a shock 1-0 victory over reigning champions Corinthians at the Orland Scarpelli. Palmeiras secured a potentially massive three points as they defeated Sport Recife 3-1, edging them closer to safety.
|Player of the Round
He may be 36-years-old but Clarence Seedorf was a class apart as he turned the match between Cruzeiro and Botafogo on its head single-handedly. The imperious Dutchman scored two goals in the space of two minutes to put Oswaldo de Oliveira's team in command at the usually intimidating Independencia. He capped a sharp performance with a brilliant assist for Jadson to secure the winner, proving that he was well worth the drawn-out saga to bring him to Rio de Janeiro. It has been an inconsistent campaign for Fogao, but with Seedorf in their squad they have every chance of a Libertadores return.