By Doug Gray, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – A convincing win for Flamengo at the Maracanã on Sunday puts the raça rubro-negro (ruby and black army) into eighth position, and should end any talk of crisis as they set their sights on the top four.
Fluminense, on the other hand, were 3 x 0 down by half time. They then scored an own goal and slumped to a 5 x 1 defeat at Gaúcho club Grêmio. Botafogo came out with yet another draw at Santos and remain in eighteenth position.
Flamengo 3 x 0 Coritiba
Stikers Petkovic and Adriano led from the front with masterly displays to bolster the team’s chances of a top four finish this season and a shot at The Libertadores next season. Petkovic curled a free kick into the top corner just after the half hour to send the home fans wild.
Adriano followed up his stunning goal last week with another this weekend, getting onto the end of a perfectly-weighted pass from his fellow forward and delivering a chip over the advancing goalkeeper to make it 2 x 0. Willians rounded off the hat trick of goals with a thunderbolt from thirty yards out and Coritiba, despite forcing a handful of saves from Bruno in the opposite goal, could do little in response.
Grêmio 5 x 1 Fluminense
The Porto Alegre team swatted aside any challenge from the league’s bottom club within 25 minutes as they opened up a 3 x 0 lead. Cuca’s warnings of Grêmio’s strong starts went unheeded as the visitors put in clumsy challenges to gain possession. From one of these fouls came the first goal as Souza poked in the cross. Ten minutes later Tcheco was on the scoresheet converting a controversial penalty conceded by Gum, and within five minutes it was 3 x 0, Tcheco crossing for Souza to again get ahead of the defense to touch the ball home.
The second half looked more promising for the visitors when Kieza headed home on twelve minutes, but directly from the restart Cassio headed the ball into his own net to restore the three goal advantage. With six minutes left, Jonas dribbled past Rafael in the Flu goal and rounded off a Grêmio win, putting them sixth in the league.
Santos 0 x 0 Botafogo
Botafogo missed out on a chance to climb out of the relegation zone with a goalless draw away at Santos on Sunday night. The game got off to a poor start in the first half. André Lima’s long-range effort was the best of the bunch, with goalkeeper Felipe requiring two attempts to put the ball just wide.
Though Santos looked largely in control, the players were unable to make it count. Fabão fired a free kick off the Botafogo bar shortly after the restart, but that was the best the crowd got to see.
In the next round Fluminense will face this season’s surprise package Avaí at the Maracanã. Flamengo travel to Internacional and Botafogo take on Vitoria at the Engenhão.