The mercurial forward added another impressive goal to his portfolio while fellow young talents, Lucas Moura and Adryan also shone in an action-packed weekend
Brasileiro: Round 25 Results
|Coritiba 1-2 Santos
Coxa began the game well at their intimidating stadium and the attacking play of right-back Ayrton was causing the visitors problems immediately. He won a free kick in the ninth minute which he then took himself, bending it round to the far post where former Fenerbahce and Flamengo striker Deivid was waiting to nod the hosts ahead. Six minutes later Lincoln attempted to double the lead with a skidding shot from distance, but Rafael had other ideas and tipped the ball around the post. In the other net, Vanderlei was finally called into action before the break as he first diverted Patricio 'Patito' Rodriguez's dipping effort over the bar before clawing a Neymar header away from danger in the final moments of the first half.
Coritiba continued to push for more goals after the break but Deivid and Sergio Escudero both missed glorious chances to add to their tally. Such profligacy often proves costly against opposition that possess players who can change a game in an instant, and that is precisely what Santos have in Neymar. The 20-year-old dribbled through a crowd of bodies, retaining the ball after a lucky bounce, before rounding the keeper and slotting the ball home to equalise in the 71st minute. Neymar then completed the comeback seven minutes from time as he added the finishing touch after Patito's initial shot had been saved by Vanderlei.
The return of Neymar has aided the Peixe's rise up the table and they now sit in 11th position, just 10 points adrift of Copa Libertadores qualification. Coritiba, meanwhile, remain dangerously close to the drop zone in 15th position.
|Fluminense 1-2 Atletico Goianiense
In the shock result of the round, top club Fluminense were beaten by bottom side Atletico Goianiense 2-1.
Following complaints over the state of the pitch at the Engenhao, the stadium currently shared by Rio de Janeiro's three major side's but owned by Botafogo, Abel Braga's men were forced to travel over 170km to Volta Redonda for their home game. Things did not start well for the hosts either as with 18 minutes played Diego Giaretta thumped in a marvellous free kick that gave Diego Cavalieri no chance. Thiago Neves came closest to bringing Fluzao level but his left-footed effort was parried by Marcio midway through the half. But things got even worse for the Tricolor Carioca minutes before the break as Marcos' deep corner was met with a looping header from Renie that caught Cavalieri out and dropped in at the far post.
Braga had clearly had some strong words for his side during the break but they were denied a goal as Marcio came out on top once more in his battle with Thiago Neves, diverting the attacking-midfielder's header over the bar with a great reaction save. But after rattling the bar with a lofted header of their own, Fluminense finally pulled a goal back in the 62nd minute. Jean's powerful strike was blocked on the line but the rebound fell straight to 19-year-old forward Michael who swept the ball into the gaping net. However, Marcio remained in inspired form for the remainder of the match meaning the Rio side dropped valuable points.
Both sides remain where they were before the round of fixtures began, with Fluminense leading the pack as Atletico Mineiro failed to capitalise on their defeat while Atletico remain at the foot of the table.
|Palmeiras 0-2 Corinthians
Palmeiras fell to their third consecutive defeat with a 2-0 loss to Corinthians in the Classico Paulista at the Pacaembu.
In their first game since the sacking of Luiz Felipe Scolari, the Verdao held the reigning champions step for step in the opening stages. However, after Paulinho wasted a golden opportunity to hand the Timao the lead, Romarinho did not falter in the 21st minute. Juninho took too long on the ball inside his own area and the 21-year-old stole possession before burying it with an accurate cross-goal effort. The striker was booked moments later as he aggravated the Palmeiras players by celebrating in front of their supporters. One of the main protagonists of the fracas that followed the goal was Luan, and he had clearly not calmed down and was sent from the field of play minutes later following a reckless challenge.
Seemingly spurred on by the perceived injustice Palmeiras went close through Marcos Assuncao and Hernan Barcos before Henrique hit the frame of the goal with a header on the stroke of half time. But Corinthians made their man advantage count within 10 minutes of the restart. Douglas crossed the ball from the right and Inter-target Paulinho, making a late run from deep, headed the ball back across goal where it nestled in the corner with Bruno standing idle. Jorge Valdivia then missed a golden opportunity to pull one back for the Alviverde in the final 15 minutes as he sent a free header over Cassio's goal.
The loss will taste bitter among the Palmeiras fans given the nature of Luan's dismissal in the first half and they stay in 19th but are joint equal on points with Atletico Goianiense. Corinthians, meanwhile, move up to ninth, but they are already assured a place in next year's Libertadores as defending champions.
|Flamengo 1-1 Gremio
Gremio failed to end their recent inconsistent run as they could only muster a draw away to struggling Flamengo at the Engenhao.
The Rubro-Negro were without a win in six heading into this fixture but they almost went ahead inside two minutes as Liedson diverted a wayward shot on target, and it shaded the outside of Marcelo Grohe's goal. The Imortal Tricolor soon worked their way into the game though and after Marco Antonio had saved a missile of a shot from Felipe, they took the lead. Since his move south from Santos, Elano has been a rejuvenated player and he supplied an exquisite pass for Marcelo Moreno to dink Gremio into the lead after just 18 minutes. Flamengo reacted positively though and 10 minutes later they came even closer to finding the net as Liedson smashed a volley against the bar from Ramon's cross.
They continued their efforts after the break and Vagner Love convinced half the ground he had equalised as he rippled the net following some excellent improvisation by Ibson, but it appeared he had merely hit the side netting. But there was no mistaking the next time Fla came close as 17-year-old Adryan's beautifully flighted free kick soared into the top corner past a frantic Grohe. Vanderlei Luxemburgo's men were forced to defend continually for the remaining 30 mins but the hosts could not find the decisive goal with Nixon missing their best chance.
Flamengo failed to open up the gap to the relegation zone from their current position in 16th while Gremio hold onto third and missed the chance to close the gap on the top two.
|Best of the Rest
Atletico Mineiro failed to make the most of Fluminense's slip-up as they were beaten 1-0 by Nautico in Recife. Luis Fabiano found the net as Sao Paulo returned to winning ways with a 3-1 triumph over Portuguesa while fellow Libertadores-hopefuls Cruzeiro and Vasco da Gama drew 1-1 at the Independencia. Bahia came out on top with a 2-1 win in a potential relegation scrap with Figueirense as fellow-strugglers Sport Recife threw away a two-goal lead over Internacional to draw 2-2. In the weekend's remaining fixture, there was nothing to separate Ponte Preta and Botafogo as they shared the spoils in a 0-0 tie.
|Player of the Round
Though not one of this week's featured games, Lucas Moura continued his recently indomitable club form with another cracking display as Sao Paulo overcame Portuguesa 3-1 at the Morumbi. The forward had a hand in all three goals as Ney Franco's request for his team to play with more attacking verve paid off. His trademark direct, agile and speedy dribbling was the key to Osvaldo breaking the deadlock in the sixth minute. After the break his blistering volley was diverted into the net by Cortez before a charge to the byeline and a perfectly timed cutback enabled Luis Fabiano to secure the three points.