By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Grêmio came away from the Maracanã with three points last night following a 1-0 win over Botafogo, despite playing for the best part of an hour with only ten men. The Rio club’s performance was one of their worst in this Campeonato Brasileiro campaign, the fans even booing idol Clarence Seedorf at the final whistle.
Botafogo have now fallen five points behind Grêmio in second and a nigh on insurmountable thirteen points behind leaders Cruzeiro. Any hopes of a first Brasileirão title since 1995 appear dashed after three successive home defeats, and a run of six matches without a win in all competitions.
After the final whistle Seedorf said the players wouldn’t throw in the towel. “We are going to fight until the end. It is part of football. Grêmio is a great team. We paid a heavy price for the mistakes we made during the game,” he said.
Grêmio were reduced to ten men on 29 minutes in strange circumstances. Kleber went to strike the ball and his follow through grazed central defender Dória.
The Botafogo player went down as if he’d been struck by a bullet and the referee didn’t hesitate in producing a red card. As soon as Kleber had received his marching orders Dória was back on his feet before goalkeeper and team captain Jefferson told him to sit back down.
But eight minutes later the visitors were in front with a beautiful strike from left-back Alex Telles. Picking up a pass from Riveros he unleashed a volley from the edge of the penalty area into the top right hand corner of the net.
Botafogo coach Oswaldo de Oliveira made changes in the second half but the players remained apathetic in the face of fan anger. Now the club must hang onto their Copa Libertadores qualifying berth to ensure this campaign is not a complete washout. Should Atlético-PR beat an out of form Coritiba later today, the Alvinegro will fall to fourth.
This afternoon, Flamengo play Vasco in a Carioca classíco. Fluminense travel to Rio Grande do Sul to take on Internacional.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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