By Matthew Burgess, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO – The sixth and seventh rounds preceding the Campeonato Brasileiro’s five week World Cup hiatus saw Fluminense hold onto third place, whilst Vasco braced themselves for a long, hard season after two more costly defeats. Both Botafogo and Flamengo also dropped valuable points at home.
Fluminense 2-1 Vitória
Fluminense began the week with a final home game before the World Cup break as Vitória visited the Maracanã, and started well with Fred putting the Tricolor ahead after 20 minutes. In-form Dario Conca then saw his long range shot come back off the post moments later.
The miss almost proved costly when Jonas leveled for Vitória in the 84th minute, but young striker Alan once again scored as a substitute, bundling Mariano’s cross over the line to secure Muricy Ramalho’s side a third straight win.
Atlético-PR 3-2 Botafogo
Botafogo suffered an away defeat having gone two goals ahead as Paulo César Carpegiani got off to a winning start as coach of Atlético.
Strikes from Herrera and Lúcio Flávio saw Botafogo race into a strong lead inside the opening 24 minutes, but it wasn’t to be enough as Atlético captain Paulo Baier pulled a goal back three minutes later, before adding a second shortly after the break to go into half time level.
The Fogão’s hopes of a point were forgotten when Alex Mineiro’s shot took a cruel deflection off defender Fábio Ferreira to beat Jefferson, and both Fahel and Wellington were sent off.
Palmeiras 0-1 Flamengo
Flamengo, under their new ‘Executive Director of Football’ and local legend Zico, continued to climb the table against troubled Palmeiras.
Vágner Love scored the only goal of the game, with a well taken solo effort on 87 minutes, in what was to be his final outing for the club as he followed fellow striker Adriano back to Europe.
Vasco 0-1 Guarani
Vasco suffered a fresh setback in their return to the top-flight against lowly Guarani. The Cruzmaltino were once again jeered by angry supporters after Roger’s 93rd minute goal piled further misery on the club, who are now second from bottom in the league.
Flamengo 1-2 Goiás
Flamengo put aside a lacklustre first period as Toró put them in front early in the second half, but the latter stages of the game belonged to Goiás.
First, Hugo’s delightful 84th minute free kick saw the Esmeraldino equalize, and three minutes later Otacílio Neto scored from close range after Bruno was unable to clear, gifting Goiás their first away win over Flamengo in 24 years.
Avaí 0-3 Fluminense
Fluminense’s rejuvination continued with a comprehensive away win against Avaí.
Leandro Euzébio headed Fluminense into the lead minutes before the break and the Tricolor doubled their advantage when Fred connected with Julio Cesar’s cross on 49 minutes. Alan then finished a fine counter-attack after good work from Mariano to round off another impressive Flu performance.
Botafogo 2-2 Corinthians
Botafogo came desperately close to causing an upset as they entertained top of the table Corinthians, despite midfielder Bruno César giving the visitors the lead on the half hour mark.
Just two minutes into the second period the Alvinegro responded, as Renato Cajá was first to a loose ball inside the area and drew his side level, and they struck again on 72 minutes, clinically hitting Corinthians on the break and Lúcio Flávio finished in style.
Hopes of memorable win were ended deep into added time, however, when Paulo André’s effort rescued a point for the visitors.
Santos 4-0 Vasco
Vasco traveled to Santos hoping to end a poor away run, but Celso Roth’s side capitulated against former coach Dorival Junior’s young team, which cruised to a comfortable four goal victory helped by two goals from youngster André.
With the Brasileirão breaking off for the World Cup, the Rio clubs now have time to reinforce and reassess ahead of the restart on July 14th when Flamengo face Botafogo in a local derby, Fluminense host Gremio, and Vasco travel to Goiás.