By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Cruzeiro were crowned the 2013 Brasileirão champions last night with four rounds of the competition to spare. A 3-1 victory over Vitória, coupled with second-placed Atlético-PR’s defeat to Criciúma, gave the Belo Horizonte club an insurmountable lead over the chasers in the pack.
The 34th round of the tournament was a terrible one for Cariocas, with none of the three teams playing picking up three points. Botafogo, who, for large parts of the season, were at the top battling for first place with Cruzeiro, have now fallen out of the G-4 after a goalless draw with Portuguesa at the Maracanã.
Flamengo put in a dreadful performance away to São Paulo and lost 2-0. A penalty from goalkeeper Rogério Ceni and a strike from Ademilson gave the Paulistas a comfortable victory.
The Rubro-Negro looked indifferent for the full 90 minutes, apparently already having one eye on the Copa do Brasil final. Next week, they travel to Curitiba for the first leg away to Atlético-PR.
Vasco slipped back into the relegation zone after losing 1-0 away to Grêmio. Rhodolfo’s goal early in the second half kept Grêmio amongst the top four while plunging the Cruz-Maltino back into trouble at the foot of the table.
Tonight, Fluminense host bottom club Náutico, who need all three points to try and lift themselves out of relegation trouble. Vanderlei Luxemburgo was sacked on Monday afternoon to be replace by former Flamengo and Vasco coach Doríval Junior.
Doríval now has five games to save the Tricolor from descent into Serie B. Ticket prices have been slashed to R$10 in an attempt to get fans through the gate.
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