By Nelson Belen, Contributing Writer
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On Sunday, May 28th, Rio’s Flamengo and Botafogo both saw action in Round Three of the Campeonato Brasileiro (Brasileirão) Série A, with the Rubro-Negra drawing 1-1 with Atlético-PR, while Botafogo bested Bahia, 1-0.
In the first game, Flamengo traveled to Curitiba to face off against Atlético-PR in Arena da Baixada. The home team started strong with several chances deep within Flamengo’s goal area but were unable to come away with any points. Flamengo would have few scoring chances in the first period, but what they did have they would make count.
At the 24 minute mark, the Rubro-Negra‘s Argentine export, Federico Mancuello got past several Atlético-PR defenders and would open the scoring off a header from a beautiful long-range pass from Pará.
Flamengo would take the 1-0 lead into halftime. But, the lead would be short-lived. Ten minutes into the period, off a twisting corner kick, Atlético-PR defender Thiago Heleno, headed the ball into the feet of Flamengo keeper Muralha. The ball took a tricky bounce and snuck past Muralha to tie the game 1-1.
Both teams would miss chances to take the lead in the second period, and the game would end in the 1-1 draw.
The draw puts Flamengo in ninth place in the standings with five points, while Atletico-PR is near the bottom of the leaderboard with one point after three rounds.
In the later game, Botafogo and Bahia both came to Nílton Santos Stadium counterattacking, and for most of the first half, the teams canceled each other out.
In the closing moments of the half, Botafogo defender Bruno Silva made a spectacular steal close to Bahia’s goal area. Pimpão received the ball and passed it back to Silva who easily lofted the ball over the helpless Bahia keeper.
In the second period, Bahia had several great opportunities to tie the game. But a clutch performance from Botafogo keeper Gatito Fernandez kept Bahia off the scoreboard and secured the 1-0 shutout for the home team.
With the victory, Botafogo finishes the third round of the Brasileirão with six points and in seventh place. Meanwhile, Bahia has three points and is in thirteenth place in the standings.
The Brasileirão features Brazil’s top twenty teams competing in 38 rounds of games until a champion is crowned in December. The G4 (top four) teams in the final season’s standings automatically qualify for next year’s Copa Libertadores tournament.