By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A fiery affair ended in favor of the Cariocas after Botafogo beat Palmeiras 2-0 last night in the Campeonato Brasileiro. Heated words were exchanged between Palmeiras defender Lúcio and Botafogo forward Emerson Sheik, with the latter claiming to reporters he had been verbally abused by the former Seleção captain.
Yet Fogo would have the last laugh. Second half strikes from Bolatti and Zeballos gave the Alvinegro only their second win of the Brasileirão campaign, helping the club climb out of the relegation zone.
Palmeiras were the better side throughout the first half but could not find a way past goalkeeper Renan, who made a succession of smart saves. Botafogo, despite a poor showing during the opening 45 minutes, could also feel aggrieved not to go in at the break a goal to the good.
Emerson had been put clean through on goal and calmly slotted past Palmeiras stopper Fabio. But the linesman had raised his flag for offside to chalk off the goal, with replays later showing the goal should have stood.
In the second half, Botafogo would remedy that wrong. On the hour mark, Argentine Bolatti put them ahead. After Palmeiras could only half clear a corner, the midfielder struck a sweet first time shot from the edge of the area that found the bottom left hand corner. Palmeiras’ hopes of restoring parity were dented severely when Wesley received his marching orders.
Botafogo capitalized in the dying stages, as the hosts pushed forward, the Cariocas unleashed a rapid counter-attack, Zeballos coolly finishing off the move to wrap up the points.
In Minas Gerais, Fluminense lost 2-0 to Atlético-MG to miss the chance to return to the top of the pile. The win helped Atlético climb three places in the early season table.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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