By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – All four Carioca clubs – Flamengo, Vasco, Botafogo and Fluminense – remain undefeated after the second round of matches in the 2012 Campeonato Brasileirão national tournament. While Flamengo and Fluminense drew, Vasco and Botafogo maintained hundred percent records after the weekend’s action.
Joel Santana’s position at Flamengo looks more precarious with each passing week. Last Saturday, May 26th, the Rubro-Negro twice threw away a two goal advantage to draw 3-3 with Internacional at the Engenhão Stadium.
Ronaldinho Gaucho again failed to justify his mammoth salary and was booed by sections of the home support when substituted in the second half. The Rio side were two up within sixteen minutes after Airton and Ronaldinho, from Ibson’s supply, put them in a comfortable position.
But Flamengo’s mistake then came from trying to play on the counter after an offensive shape had served them so well. And Inter, despite missing a host of familiar names, pulled one back through Gilberto.
Right after restart it looked like Vagner Love had made sure of victory for Fla only for the side to implode once again. First, Fabricio scored with a beautiful long-range effort before Ronaldinho sloppily lost the ball in the midfield, Datolo seizing on the error to bury a gifted chance.
A wonderful Alecsandro bicycle kick gave Vasco a 1-0 victory away to Portuguesa. The result left Vasco with six points and one of the early leaders in the league.
The home side had started the game better, but in what has come to be a Vascaino trademark, Cristovao’s side struck just as their opponents began to feel comfortable. As they have done so many times this year already, they sat patiently waiting to pick off Portuguesa on any counter-attacks they could muster.
It turned out to be not many as the home side launched no less then seventeen attacks on the Vasco goal. But the visitors, who are still without idol Dede, stood firm to take the points.
There was also an important away victory for Botafogo as they won 3-2 at Coritiba. Full-back Lucas earned the plaudits with two goals, including the winner five minutes from time.
The Alvinegro had made the worst possible start, falling behind after just thirty seconds, but Lucas and Vitor Junior had turned things round before the half-hour mark. Coritiba continued to press but couldn’t level the game before the interval.
Their start to the second half was almost as good as the first however. Five minutes in, they had equalized, a deep cross from the left being flicked on by Demerson before Lucas Mendes buried at the far post.
But neither team looked satisfied with a draw and both coaches made attacking changes in search of three points. It was de Oliveira who lucked out, as substitute Elkeson aided Lucas in snatching the winner for the Cariocas.
There was disappointment for Fluminense as they could only manage a 2-2 draw at home against Figueirense. Twice the Tricolor took the lead, but had played with ten men since the fourteenth minute after Wallace’s dismissal.
Youngster Marcos Junior and Wagner got the Flu goals, but after their elimination to Boca Juniors in the Copa Libertadores last week, coach Abel Braga’s side still appeared to be in mourning as they dropped two precious points.