By Nelson Belen, Contributing Writer
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – This past weekend, the Campeonato Brasileiro (Brasileirão) Série A entered round nine as the top twenty football clubs in Brazil took the pitch on Saturday, June 18h, and Sunday, June 19th for round nine of the 38 round tournament. With a number of game-saving plays from São Paulo goalkeeper Denis and a missed late-game penalty kick from Flamengo’s Alan Patrick, Flamengo players and fans had to be content leaving Mané Garrincha Stadium with a 2×2 draw against the tricolour.
Flamengo put the pressure on early, spending most of the first period in the heart of São Paulo’s defense. However, São Paulo’s counter attack drew first blood at the eleven-minute mark when a long pass from Calleri led to a breakaway goal from mid-fielder Ganso. Flamengo tied the game soon after with its first goal, an own goal that ricocheted off of São Paulo defender Rodrigo Caio past goalkeeper Denis.
At the sixth minute of the second period, a goal off the head of Calleri gave São Paulo a short-lived lead. The rubro-negra responded with a header of their own from Willian Arão off Patrick’s free kick, tying the game at the thirteenth minute.
The back-and-forth affair continued into stoppage time when Flamengo missed a golden opportunity for the win as a penalty kick from Patrick sailed past the left goal post cementing the 2×2 draw.
The result left both teams with fourteen points in the standings, with São Paulo in fifth place, one ahead of sixth place Flamengo due to goal differential. The game could have huge implications for both teams’ chances to go to next year’s Copa Libertadores da America as only the top four clubs (G-4) in the Brasileirão go to next year’s tournament.
In other action this past weekend, Botafogo’s woes in the 2016 season continued with a 3×1 loss to Corinthians. The game marked the farewell game for Corinthians coach Adenor Bacchi, better known as Tite, who now leaves the club to begin his new duties as coach of the Brazilian national team. He takes over the seleção following Dunga’s firing on Tuesday, June 14th, in the wake of the team’s humiliating loss in the Copa América last week.
With the loss, Botafogo finds itself near the bottom of the standings, in the eighteenth position and in danger of relegation.
The Brasileirão Série A consists of 38 rounds of games until a champion is crowned in December.