By Robbie Blakeley, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Flamengo beat Botafogo 1-0 yesterday evening (July 28th) at the Maracanã in new coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo’s first game in charge. Alecsandro’s headed goal just after the half-hour mark was enough to separate the sides in a hard fought contest with little in the way of free flowing football.
It was the Rubro-Negro’s first win in eight outings, and helped the club move onto ten points from twelve games. They now sit eighteenth in the Brasileirão table, while Botafogo remain in thirteenth position with twelve points.
Botafogo, who were close to apathetic during the first half, looked far more cohesive after the break, when Paraguayan forward Zeballos entered for Argentine midfielder Bolatti. Wallyson also replaced Carlos Alberto, who had found it difficult to escape some tough Flamengo marking, as Botafogo threatened an equalizer.
But Flamengo’s defense stood firm, even withstanding the dismissal of Caceres to secure the three points. The last time Luxemburgo was in charge of Flamengo he led them to the Copa Libertadores.
His brief this season is less ambitious but of equal importance. He must keep them in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, or suffer the ignominy of being the first coach to relegate Brazil’s biggest club.
In the south, Fluminense comprehensively beat Atlético-PR 3-0 at the Arena da Baixada to go third in the league. Goals from Jean, a Conca penalty and Cícero gave the Laranjeiras outfit the points in a fantastic display.
Flu coach Cristovão Borges put Walter on the bench to play Colombian Valencia in holding midfield. The ploy worked a treat, with the Cariocas dominating the midfield and launching rapid counter-attacks for which their hosts had no answer.
After twelve games, Fluminense have collected 22 points. They are six behind current leaders and defending champions Cruzeiro, who thrashed Figueirense 5-0 on Saturday evening.
Campeonato Brasileiro Round 12 Results in Full:
Santos 3-0 Chapecoense
Cruzeiro 5-0 Figueirense
Criciúma 1-3 Vitória
Bahia 0-1 Internacional
Sport Recife 2-1 Atlético-MG
Corinthians 2-0 Palmeiras
Atlético-PR 0-3 Fluminense
Goiás 2-1 São Paulo
Flamengo 1-0 Botafogo
Grêmio 2-3 Coritiba
Read more (in Portuguese).
* The Rio Times Daily Updates feature is offered to help keep you up-to-date with important news as it happens.