By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The top twenty football clubs in Brazil take the pitch this week as the Campeonato Brasileiro (Brasileirão) Série A enters round three. Wednesday night showcased the three big clubs from Rio de Janeiro in the Série A this year, as Botafogo, Fluminense and Flamengo all were on the pitch.
The night began with Botafogo fans finally having a chance to celebrate. After going winless in its first two games, losing to São Paulo and drawing with Sport Recife, Botafogo notched its first victory beating Atletico Paranaense 2-1.
Fans of Atletico-PR can take solace in the club’s attack, which created a number of scoring opportunities throughout the game. However, Botafogo goalkeeper Helton Leite made a number of game-saving plays, bouncing back from sub-par performances in his first two games.
An effective counter-attack from Botafogo led to an early first-half goal from forward Ribamar, followed by another goal from midfielder Neilton late in the second to seal the victory. With the win, Botafogo earned four points in the Série A league standings. Atletico-PR is still in search of its first win.
Flamengo looked to turn the page from a forgettable last week which began with head coach Muricy Ramalho being hospitalized for a cardiac arrhythmia on Tuesday (May 17th), the club being eliminated from the Brazil Cup tournament on Wednesday (May 18th), and then losing to Grêmio in round two of the Brasileirão on Sunday (May 22nd).
Unfortunately for the Rubro-Negro, its winless streak in the Brasileirão reached two games as the team tied with Chapecoense 2-2. A goal from Alan Patrick in the game’s final minute saved Flamengo from a disastrous loss, but not from the chorus of boos that serenaded the home team from its frustrated fans at Volta Redonda.
In other action Wednesday night, with two goals early in the second half, Palmeiras defeated Fluminense 2-0 and remains near the top of the standings. With the loss, Fluminense, once near the top of the standings, find themselves at 13th at the time of writing.
The Brasileirão Série A consists of the top twenty teams in the country competing in 38 rounds of games until a champion is crowned in December.