By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Rio’s soccer clubs continued to lose ground this weekend in the seventeenth round of the 2013 Campeonato Brasileiro. For the second successive week, no Carioca team managed to win, putting a dent in their respective aspirations.
Following Fluminense’s defeat to Santos on Saturday night, Botafogo entertained another Paulista club, São Paulo, at the Maracanã, but were held to a goalless draw. Flamengo and Vasco were soundly thrashed by Corinthians and Cruzeiro, respectively.
Botafogo’s result saw them fall behind at the top of the table. The 0-0 stalemate meant the Glorioso dropped down to fourth following wins for Grêmio and Atlético-PR, who climbed into second and third place. Botafogo are now four points off the top.
The weekend was far worse for Flamengo, who were massacred 4-0 by Corinthians at the Pacaembu in São Paulo city. About 39,000 filled the stadium on Corinthians’ 103rd birthday and the side’s performance did not disappoint.
Flamengo played as if they did not want to spoil the party and were dreadful from first whistle to last. A brace from Alexandre Pato inside at 34 minutes put the home side out of sight even before the half-time whistle. Romarinho and Guerrero added two more in the second half to underline Corinthians’ superiority. Flamengo slip to fifteenth, just three points above the relegation zone.
Vasco put up a valiant resistance against Cruzeiro but eventually succumbed 5-3 at the Mineirão in Belo Horizonte. Willian put Cruzeiro ahead in the opening seconds before André equalized. Two goals in six minutes seemingly put Cruzeiro in cruise control before Vasco replied, just before the break, with a quickfire double of their own from Willie to make the score 3-3 at half-time.
Cruzeiro pressed after the restart and were finally rewarded on 67 minutes when Lucas Silva put them ahead for a third time. Araújo’s late strike made sure of the result.
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